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The Ocean was before the Land ' 

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Preface 9 

* A National Asset ' . . . .10 
The Father of the Sea . . .19 
The Mariner's Creed ... 30 
Fletcher Christian's Lament . . 35 
The Plymouth Buccaneers . . 41 

In Chains 49 

The Man Who Wasn't There . -52 

Marooned 64 

Abandoned 72 

The Middle Passage .... 80 
Dance's Tea-Fight . . . -89 
The Ballad of Peter Serrano , . 97 

* The London,' Privateer . . .110 
The Deal Boatmen . . . .119 
That Abraham . . . . .122 
In Falmouth Harbour . . -137 

The Pilgrims 139 

The Sailing Ship . . . • "45 
Captain Te.-^ch 151 


Some time ago Mr Lewis Melville, the 
well-known author, compiled a sea- 
anthology entitled Full Fathom Five 
which he did me the honour to dedicate 
to me. In this collection was included 
a poem by my pen named Marooned. 

A copy was sent to Mr Theodore 
Watts-Dunton, the eminent novelist, 
critic and poet, who in thanking Mr 
Melville for the book, said that in his 
opinion Marooned was the getn of the 
volume. This praise proceeding from such 
a source determined me to polish and 
rearrange the pieces from which Af(/rc(?«^^ 
had been taken and to issue what is 
practically a third edition. The volume 
under another name was very well 
received, and some of the poems, 
(notably Fletcher Christian s Lament^ The 
Father of the Sea^ The Mariner s Q'eed), 
warmly praised by men whose applause 
is sincere, whose critical discernment 
is of high quality, and whose approval 
therefore is honourable to the recipient 
of it. 


A National Asset 

By Captain W. J. Ward 

Author of ' That Supercargo' ' The Lady Shipper,' etc. 


Lover of words am I — my cradle swung 
To cadences poetic, and the grain 
Throve in the garden of the infant 

And a deep passion for the mother- 
Rooted and flourished, and with it has 

A gratitude intense to all the train 
Of word-magicians who a native strain, 
Noble and beautiful, have ever sung — 
And now, O master, I acknowledge thee 
Chiefest of all who paint in English 

The windy sparkle of the olive sea. 
The silver shoaling on a coral beach — 
How oft upon thine islands have I 

Like lotus-eaters and have been 
marooned ! 

From English Sea Pictures^ by Julia 
D. Young, Author of Barharn 
Beach, the President's Poem. — New 



[I am induced to reprint this notice 
from the Mantime Review , for two 
reasons : — first it is very charmingly 
written ; next, it is from the pen of 
a master mariner of Cardiff, Captain 
W. J. Ward, a man whose experience of 
the sea-life is very wide, who has long 
served and long commanded in sail and 
steam. Commendations from such 
sources as this are peculiarly agreeable 
to me ; and I would rather win the 
approval of one such sailor as Captain 
Ward than the heartiest applause of 
the many brackish-water Jacks and 
longshoremen who accept the serious 
duties of the critic] 

It was at a noted house of call for 
shipmasters at Calcutta, and present 
were a number of skippermen who 
could tell you everything about the 
sea, right from A to Z. For a wonder, 
they had forsaken the theme that is 
said to be dear to their hearts — com- 
missions, and the ' making ' of money ! — 
and because the ' literary ' member of the 
gathering had commenced to talk about 
a book that was then ' all the rage,' 
Jack's Courtship^ to wit. 

After expatiating on the beauties of 


the book, and the true-to-life manner 
in which it was written, one of the 
hardy seamen present repeated, ' Jack's 
Courtship ? Who's it by ? ' The simple 
query appeared to ruffle the feelings 
of the * literary ' member, and for a time 
he satisfied himself with a mere focuss- 
ing of a quizzical look at the questioner. 
When that worthy had grown sufficiently 
uncomfortable, and had commenced to 
wriggle about as if he contemplated 
a sudden departure from the venue, 
the * literary ' man said : 

' Who's it by ? Why, whom do you 
think it is likely to be by ? Supposing, 
that is, that it's calculated to keep a 
sailorman's attention for five minutes ? 
If you really wish to know, I don't 
mind telling you that it's by a national 
asset, me man ; and one that the 
country is proud of.' 

This seemed to nonplus the querist. 
He admitted that, in his travels at sea, 
and thanks to signing-on many queer 
nationalities, he had happened upon 
some peculiar names. Still, he gave 
it as his opinion that a Mr National 
Asset was about the limit. He further- 
more queried as to whether the gentle- 
man was a Arab — or what ? 


With a look that was calculated to 
kill, the ' literary ' member remarked, 
in what he considered to be a more or 
less inconsequent manner : 

' Clark Russell — and he doesn't need 
any full style and title, for to us that 
love him, he will always be just Clark 
Russell — is the national asset to which 
I was referring, and he belongs to no 
particular country, or time. He is a 
national asset, right enough ; but he 
is that to every country on earth, that 
aspires to a merchant navy of its own. 
If his books are published in English, 
he is a national asset to the Briton. If 
French is the medium, then, he is a 
national asset to the Gaul. If the wily 
Teuton undertakes the publication, then 
he is a national asset to the German — 
and so, me man. There is no doubt 
about it.' 

And frankly, there is no doubt. Mr 
W. Clark Russell is precisely that 
which the skipperman suggested, and 
in the matter of recruiting young 
would-be sailors for the merchant 
marine, he has probably done more 
yeoman service than any dozen ex- 
ponents of the art. The mere fact 
that a number of them have forsaken 



the sea in later life, is not attributable 
to Mr Clark Russell. His magic pen 
awakened the sea-craving in their blood. 
They shipped. But careless employers 
failed to bolster up the good work 
wrought by the novelist. And there 
is still a dearth of seamen. 

So far then, we have considered the 
opinions of those who the gifted writer 
loved so well ; and for whose benefit 
he has struggled, through good repute 
and ill — for it naturally follows that, in 
accepting the part of champion for the 
helpless, he has experienced his fair 
share of opprobrium from the exploiters 
of those unfortunates. At the same 
time, it is good to remember that he 
has encomiums from the highest in the 
land — a fact which has doubtless buoyed 
him up when writing from a bed of 
sickness which has been his, for so many 
years ; a sickness that would have 
curdled the love and endeavour, in 
any but a hero. 

For instance, our present Kin^ has 
tendered his meed of praise to * Clark 
Russell,' when accepting the dedication 
of What Cheer? On that occasion 
Major-General Sir Francis de Winton 
wrote : 


* His Royal Highness the Duke ot 
York ' (now King George V.) ' has 
always taken a great interest in our 
Mercantile Marine, and he is happy 
to think that the condition of our 
Merchant seamen is steadily though 
slowly improving, and it is due to you 
and your works, in his opinion, that 
much of the improvement has taken 
place.' Will any thinking man, who 
is cognisant of the circumstances, dis- 
agree with His Gracious Majesty ? We 
venture to say. No. We are absolutely 
certain that no thinkingr sailorman will 
beg to differ. 

Then, an authority of the magnitude 
of Sir Edwin Arnold — the gifted author 
of T/ie L,iglit of Asia — was constrained to 
admit that ' Clark Russell is the prose 
Homer of the great Ocean ' ; and the 
poet, A. C. Swinburne, declared that 
' He is the greatest master of the sea, 
living or dead, and his name is a 
household word wherever the Encrlish 
language is spoken, and the splendid 
qualities of the British sailor known 
and understood.' 

As we have already remarked, Mr 
Swinburne might safely have gone a 
bit further, in which event he could 


have written, 'wherever the language 
of the sea is spoken,' for there Mr Clark 
Russell is sure of the homage which is 
justly his. In this country, it is not the 
fashion to ennoble those who really do 
something for their time and genera- 
tion — unfortunately. The maker of a 
particular brand of beer, or the ' in- 
ventor' of a patent-button-hook — 
providing both items have earned the 
increment which ultimately gets into the 
' party chest ' — can depend on receiving 
the recommendation for which his soul 

But the ' national asset ' : the man 
whose name will be remembered for 
centuries after the beer and button- 
hooks have been relegated to the limbo 
of forgotten commodities ; well, that 
sort of asset is ennobled in itself. For 
example : If Mr Clark Russell were 
disguised as a peer, and then wrote a 
book as such, would anybody give it 
a second thought ? Of course not. 
Until they had learned that the title 
was merely a joke upon their much- 
loved ' Clark Russell,' that is. 

And in totalling up the output, so to 
say, from his pen, we find that this 
giant has already written no less than 



fifty-seven books — every one of them 
good and worthy of his name. Think 
of it ? Fifty-seven books, to say 
nothing of the bulk of literary matter 
in addition thereto, and all of which 
has been scattered broadcast for the 
ultimate good of humanity. For no 
deserving cause ever found ' Clark 
Russell ' disinclined to break a lance in 
its favour ; no helpless, or downtrodden 
unit of the world's make-up, ever 
pleaded to him in vain. 

Yet the major portion of this 
stupendous output has been wrought, 
as already remarked, from a bed of 
sickness. Well might it be said that 
the sea, whose votary he is, filled him 
with virility during the relatively few 
years* in which he tempted its vagaries. 
We have no wish to appear to intrude 
on the privacy of Mr Clark Russell, 
but we have heard him resignedly 
compare himself with Tom Bowling, 
and suggest that ' Here, a sheer hulk,' 
best fits his case. But even so, and 
' sheer hulk ' nothwithstanding, he 
would write a book here ; pen a trenchant 
letter there ; make a strenuous appeal, 

* Eight years— W. C. R. 


elsewhere ; aye, and e'en while he would 
twist and turn in pain, during the 

Of a surety is such a hero a national 
asset, and the more we think of the 
subject, the greater is our admiration 
for that skipper out at Calcutta, who 
first called our attention to the fact. 
May the fates be kinder to the stricken 
writer, and may he long be spared to 
wield his able pen. The nation can 
better spare many more-advertised and 
gaudily-decorated patriots, than can it 
Mr William Clark Russell — a citizen 
of the universal world. 


The Wanderer of the Deep is not the 

Jew who walks the Land, 
Which solemn truth my shipwreck 

gaveth me to understand. 
Alone of fifty seamen I survived and 

swam ashore. 
The scene of this disaster was the coast 

of Labrador. 
A rugged frozen, storm-dark spot ; my 

life-book had been shut, 
But for the shelter of a Codman's tight, 

tarr'd, empty hut. 
Salt is the flesh of sea-duck and the 

yolk of eggs in rocks. 
The seal and porcupine are there and 

gannets in great flocks. 
The highlands yield you water and the 

lowlands yield you fuel ; 
My tinder-box made fire but the ice- 

tooth'd wind was cruel. 

The iceberg starting out of fog would 
stare with ghastly gleam : 

Aurora clad in rainbow-lights would 
flicker, flash and stream. 


The sudden fox with hearkening ears 
would bark, then disappear : 

Abreast was Cape Farewell — I'd often 
wish it was Cape Clear ! 

But though the moss was soft and deep, 
like women's eyes in hue ; 

But though the sea-bird flamed in flight 
in purple, rose and blue ; 

But though the ice-floe broke the sun 
like prisms full of glory ; 

But though the coast looked fortress- 
like in tower and bastion hoary ; 

Whate'er the sight of beast, of bird, of 
growth upon that old land. 

The Soul of desolation is the Monarch 
of that cold land. 

I went one morn to view the sea from 

a commanding height ; 
Its breast was caged in ribbed ice and 

nothing was in sight. 
With spirit crushed by solitude my 

hut-path I retraced. 
But entering, my hair stood up ! by 

what thing was I faced ? 
Man do I call that Terror ? What ! 

a thing of human birth ^ 
Then never was another man like him 

seen on this earth ! 


He frown'd on me o'er folded arms 

defiantly unreal. 
His clothes were pantaloons (fur out) 

made of the skin of seal. 
His gabardine of fur was like his yellow 

cap of skin ; 
His mighty beard poured in smoke 

from hidden cheek and chin. 

His eyes shone faint as falling stars 

when mirror'd in clear ice ; 
His brows were bush'd with little mats 

like skins of two white mice ; 
His hair like vapour, clothed his back, 

as clouds clothe Table Mountain ; 
His fingers seem'd mere spikes of ice 

which fringe a frozen fountain. 
His flesh was like the parchment that 

is black with beat of drum ; 
I look'd above — around — below — 

whence had this Terror come .'' 
I marked no boat — no steed — no sledge 

for fox or wolf or deer : 
Mother of God ! my hair rose when 

I asked, ' How came you here ? ' 
His voice was hollow as the moan of 

wind in a sea-cave's mouth : 
* This is my answer : East and West, 

from North pole to the South — 


I wander o'er the Ocean, I'm the 

Father of the Sea ! 
I'm that which was, I'm that which Is, 

I'm that which e'er shall be ! ' 

' Thou'rt the creature of my loneliness,' 

I cried, * and of a mind 
That's mad by heed of where it is and 

what it's left behind. 
But though a Vision be thou real ! as 

such some comfort bring, 
I'd rather trust a Lie than have no faith 

in anything ! ' 
And then spake I and said again, * My 

Lenten fare is lean. 
Cold gannet and cold water and a sea- 
mew's egg between.' 
With haughty hand he stayed my 

tongue : * I am not here for cheer ; 
I'm come to tell my story after which 

I'll disappear.' 
He sat him down, I sat me down : or 

real or Fancy's freak 
'Twas pleasant to have company, to 

hear even that clay speak. 

* I've been a sailor of the Ark, of 

Carthage, and of Tyre. 
I've sailed with the Ancients of Gebal 

to coasts of snow and fire ; 


I've sail'd in Lydian, Carian ships, 

Ciliciaii, and in Phrygian, 
Babylonian and Assyrian, and Phoenician 

and in Scythian. 
I've sail'd in boats of Egypt of acantha 

and papyrus, 
And tamarisk (reed-wattled) forming 

rafts for those who hire us ; 
I've sail'd with old Sataspes round the 

headland called Spartel, 
By way o' the Pillars of Hercules with 

Xerxes' stern cartel. 
In mighty Alexander's fleet for India 

did I 2:0. 
To musick and the clang of arms and 

measur'd chant we row. 

' Our weapons gleam'd with blue of 

steel and light of gold was there 
In martial garb ; whilst brilliant dyes 

of pennons shook the air. 
Phoenician ships were built of fir of 

Senir, and their masts 
Were Lebanon cedars, and the oars of 

Bashan's oak which lasts. 
The benches of the rowers were of 

ivory from Chittim, 
The wise men who were pilots kept 

their vessel very trim. 


Her sails were made of linen with 

Egyptian broidery : 
And Tarshish with her rich fairs, was 

her Merchant of the Sea. 
She loaded amber, corn and salt, and 

metal from the mine, 
And chariot-cloths and products of the 

husbandman and vine. 

* The Libyan's silent barter, Damascus' 

precious gems. 
The wheat and honey, oil and balm and 

Sheba's diadems. 
The Arabian rams and silk-haired goats 

from Kedar's Kings afar ; 
Such freights I've known, such ships 

I've sailed in under every star ! 
I've scour'd the sea with ruining Goths ; 

with Vikings I have plunder 'd 
Pass'd Orkney and the Shetlands and 

grim coasts by wild foam sunder'd. 
In the Holker and the Draker with the 

Dane my bow I've bent. 
The flag o' the Raven flying to wrest 

Thanet's Isle from Kent. 
I've sail'd with Swein for Norfolk's 

coast : his lofty vanes were built 
In shape of birds : Great Dragon is 

right royal with silk and gilt. 


She hangs abroad a standard in whose 

heart the Raven reigns ; 
She's like a moated Castle filled with 

fearless fiery Danes.' 

I shudder'd : * Does your memory,' I 
said, ' go back to Eden ? ' 

' I talk not of that Paradise : but Den- 
mark and of Sweden.' 

' How many ^ons old art thou ? ' ' O 
mortal, ask me not ! 

But hold you this, because I'm here, 
by Time I'm not forgot. 

Though slowly, when thou'rt waiting, 
sinks the sand inside the glass, 

Thou'lt find, despite impatience, that 
the long years swiftly pass. 

I'm Sovran of the Ocean, whilst the 
world is I shall reign ; 

With the Sailor I was suckled, with the 
Sailor I remain. 

' The drama of Invasion was by mighty 

Cassar play'd, 
The Roman lost his soldiers and the 

Briton got his trade. 
I steer'd a thrice-bank'd galley to the 

shallows of the Stour, 
And saw the giants blue and fierce in 

hosts upon the shore. 


They'd chariots and coracles and darts 

which slew when hurl'd, 
The spirit of those Britons mock'd the 

Emperor of the world. 
They fought for soil and freedom, for 

the forest and the glen, 
The yellow crop, the Druid's oak, the 

women and old men ; 
The children who as Britons born no 

Roman durst subdue, 
For Britain then. Great Britain now, 

and then as now True Blue ! 

' Of all the massive memories which 

form the pyramid 
In which my spirit like a King of 

Egypt, lieth hid. 
None makes my blood run swifter, fills 

mine eyes with prouder fire 
Than that of Lord Columbus and his 

ship the Saint Maria. 
Oh, name me in Life's Domesday Book 

a greater and a grander, 
A kinglier soul, diviner seer as Prophet 

and Commander, 
Who saw, with eyesight touch'd by 

God, a new world far away. 
More glorious than the Indies, and 

more marvellous than Cathay. 


Of men he was the monarch and his 

crown was God's command. 
No mere dynastic king was he, through 

theft of gold or land, 
The Sovran of the West whose sun 

flamed on his flag unfurled. 
And God-like, what his genius made, 

that gave he to the world. 

* I see him now upon the deck, a figure 

sunk in thought : 
The lip-ht in which the New World shone, 

the Prophet's soul had caught. 
He'd stand alone with passive mien and 

face of lion-power, 
And rapt in spirit watch the West for 

hour after hour. 
Three quiet, lonesome ships were we, 

our hearts were filled with fear : 
The land we knew was sunk astern, the 

unknown deep was here. 
The very Seaman's Card rebell'd : we 

could not con aright. 
Nor could our saints and candle-vows 

snufi^ out St Elmo's light. 

* The demon of the water-spout dis- 

dained our crosswise knives. 
The storm-fiend spurn'd the butter- 
cake we made to save our lives. 


The seav/eed clung about us and with 

catlike velvet claws 
Delay'd our sobbing keels in wrath for 

daring Nature's laws. 
But what could daunt our Admiral's 

heart ? When " Land ! " was cried 

Upon his knees he thank'd dear God : 

when lo ! it proved a cloud ! 
More reverent grew his upturned eyes, 

whilst speechless he adored ; 
His was the faith that's noblest in its 

whole trust in the Lord.' 

The Wanderer's face seem'd vaguer yet ; 

more dim the strange man grew ; 
His hair more vapour-like in fall, his 

eyes more misty blue ; 
As feebly lighted figures in a mirror 

darkly drawn 
Retire into a phantom-shape as stars 

swoon into dawn ; 
So seem'd this thing to fade and wane ; 

then in a voice as dree^ 
As cries of drowning men heard in the 

calling of the sea, 
He said, * Pray fetch me water to 

refresh my tired tone.' 
Forth stepp'd I and on coming back, 

I found myself alone ! 


But hark ! what is that echo in the 

breakers on the shore ? 
What is that rhythm dwelling in the 

winds of Labrador ? 
What chant was in the fox's bark before 

the whaler found mc ? 
What song was in the thunder-making 

ice and bergs which bound me ? 
What was't I heard a-thrilling through 

the coloured northern lights ? 
The comet's silver javelin sheering 

through the silent nights ? 
The ice-sheathed cliffs which sentinel 

the giant kelp below : 
The hill-side dumb with frozen trees, 

the Arctic lunar bow ? 
I heard the rhyme in soundless things : 

its voice no heart could miss 
In flight of bird, in sleep of seal — that 

rhyme was ever this : 
'I wander o'er the Ocean, I'm the 

Father of the Sea, 
I'm that which was, I'm that which is, 

I'm that which e'er shall be.' 

The Mariner's Creed 

' And darkness was upon the f;ce of the deep j 
and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the 

The Ocean was by God's command. 
The Ocean was before the Land, 
Before the Land sprang into being, 
Mountain-crowned and valley-deep : 
Beautiful with lakes and meadows, 
Falling foam on golden shore ; 
Noble with the towering forest 
And the shouting cataract's leap, 
Heaven-like in the summer sunset. 
Hell-like in the tempest's roar. 
The throne of Night was on the Sea 
Night's central soul and voice was He 
Till, phantom-wise that soul took form ; 
Then spake the Voice in calm and storm. 
With Visions fashioned or begun 
The Sea was clothed ere yet there was 
the Sun. 

My princely gallants, give me heed 
And hearken to a Sailor's Creed. 


What think ye of yon theatre 
Of walls and roof and groundlings' pit ? 
'Tis but a dusty, hollow house, 
Chill as a galleon's freightless hold. 
But how's it when the curtain's raised, 
The musick play'd, the candles lit, 
When the actors sing or act or dance. 
And, festive, ape the Age's mould ? 
What magic do those players order ? 
It warbles in the soft recorder ; 
Shines in the actress' eloquent eyes. 
Thrills in the swain's impassioned sighs. 
Gives life to all we see and feel. 
And makes the Visions of the mind's 
eye real. 

And would'st thou then the Ocean strip 
Of mermaid and of phantom-ship ? 
The homage of the mighty Deep 
Unto the mightier lunar charm ? 
The tide's discourse, St Elmo's fire. 
The arts by which the wind's subdued ? 
Would'st force a bosom, zoned by 

That storms in tempest, smiles in calm, 
To heave, to sleep — an inland lake ! — 
In barren prose of solitude ? 
O tell me not ihat play is ended ! 
O still be mine the Vision splendid 1 


The gleams, the glooms, the melodies, 
Dwell in my spirit's ears and eyes. 
My memories, moods and love they 

All hail, thou Soul, thou Mother of my 

Creed ! 

The bosom's rise and fall are breath — 
What mean the Tides but life and death ? 
The sobbing Ebb streams darkling o'er 
The shingle and the snake-like weed : 
And with it goes the dead man's soul 
To the unknown Sea beyond the sun ; 
The Flood makes with its rhythmic 

And glad voice of a Spirit freed, 
And to the mother bears the babe 
Which from the Unknown Sea it won. 
An hollow-theatre's silent stage 
Is the Ocean in a knowing age ! 
No life ere life began is there. 
The eyes are blank, the bosom bare : 
What if It be not wind and foam ? 
The soul hath fled, the spirits have no 


Behold the Ocean's Queen on high : 
She floods the stars and fills the sky. 
A white cloud wanly veils her face 
In envy of her loving beam, 


And the Ocean who's her sovereign lord, 
Frowns to behold her cloud-empearled : 
Upon his breast her picture shines, 
Upon this symbol doth she dream, 
And as she moves, with lifted heart 
He goes with her around the world. 
Blind eyes have they who will not see : 
The hidden truth's the truth to me ; 
It's in the still, small voice in things ; 
It's in the song the blackbird sings ; 
It's in the violet's perfumed hue : 
It is the soul that makes her semblance true. 

Shall not the sea her musick keep ? 
Ye've slain the minstrels of the deep. 
How chants the billow, sings the surge ? 
What is the foaming valley's sound .'' 
What lilt is in the lipping tide .'' 
Declare what says the headlong breaker ! 
Whilst she who gave them melodies 
Lies white in her pavilion drown'd ! 
Sweet mermaid of the bright breasts — 

dead ! 
Why did the mariner forsake her ? 
The ripple warbled in her throat. 
The breaker timed the harp she smote : 
Th' Andean surge snatched harmony 
From his lone Virgin of the Sea. 
But now, until the gale be done 
The Ocean hoarsely bellows at the Sun. 


In the unseen, interpreted 

By what is seen, the truth is read. 

And what is it to ye or me 

That instinct governs fish or beast ? 

Seek ye the hidden spirit in them 

And by construction truth detect. 

Knowest thou not that death is near 

When gleams the shark in the white 

wake's yeast .'* 
Heed'st thou never the spell-woven 

That makes the gale when the ship is 

wreck'd .'' 
My heart is still at her commands 
Who sings to me on golden sands. 
Mine ears shall hear the catspaw purr 
To the whistle of the mariner. 
My soul the Sea shall greatly dare 
To view as when the Nio^ht alone was 



Fletcher Christian's Lament 

At this question he seemed confused, and 
answered with much emotion, 'That Captain 
Bligh, — that is the thing ; — I am in Hell — I am 
in Hell ! '—Mutiny of H.M.S. Bounty. 

In 's cabin, sunk in sullen thought, 

lay Mr William Bligh, 
Lieutenant who was skipper of the 

Bounty man-of-war. 
His face was plump and girlish, and he 

had a vicious eye. 
His heart no tender thought could melt 

nor God's own power awe. 
(O gentlemen of Britain, think of us 

beyond the sea ! 
And likewise all you ladies who enslave 

the men who're free.) 
The sternest of us cannot speak of 

England without tears. 
No sailors were more dutiful. 
Our love of home was beautiful, 
'Twas Bligh o' the Bounty man-of-war 

who made us mutineers. 



I see him now, more white than pink : 

his hair hung in a tye : 
A tarnish'd cocked-hat sat athwart ; his 

stout shanks sank in shoes. 
His cold keen eyes turned round about 

the smallest fault to spy. 
The object of his being was his sailors 

to abuse. 
(O gentlemen !) for trifles, sirs, aloft, 

alow he'd stare, 
(O ladies, kind !) his insolence no sailor 

man could bear ; 
He traded on our discipline, trucked 

basely in our fears — 
At heart we were a loyal crew. 
From yard-arm earring down to 

clew — 
'Twas bloody-minded girlish Bligh 

who made us mutineers. 


We'd visited the islands, knew the 

fairest of the land. 
The groves of palms, the waterfalls, the 

fire-clothed mountain-dome ; 
The cocoa-trees and sweet roots, the 

canoes by warriors manned, 
The coral beach and laughing Venus 

beckoning in the foam. 


But (gentlemen of Briiain), do you 

think we wronged our fame 
(O ladies, kind), do you suppose we 

madly sought our shame 
For love of dusky women who could 

never be our dears ? 
('Tis rapture when they greet ye 
On the shores of Otaheite.) 
'Twas heartless, cold, no-sailor Bligh 

who made us mutineers. 


Who uses ill the sailor is no sailor, take 

you heed ! 
A loyal heart's the noblest gem in 

Britain's brilliant crown. 
We'd foughten for our country, and 

for her again would bleed. 
We'd circle twenty times the globe to 

add to her renown. 
Why (gentlemen of Britain) did we 

send that Bligh adrift, 
(O ladies,) with our shipmates without 

pity, without shrift .'' 
To spurn the service of the King and 

rove as privateers .'' 
We're human, like our fellows, 
For Bligh despised the gallows ; 
He forced our hand to seize the ship 

and end as mutineers. 


'Twas April, seventeen eighty-one, and 

just before the dawn ; 
And Captain Bligh was sleeping in his 

cabin all alone. 
He'd kept a watch below in scowling 

thought as I have drawn 
In the opening of this ditty, writ to 

make our story known ; 
When (gentlemen of Britain) Fletcher 

Christian, Master's mate, 
And (ladies, kind) three other sailors 

filled with wrath and hate. 
Burst in upon Lieutenant Bligh, who up 

his figure rears ; 
We flung the tyrant on the deck. 
And swore we'd break his scoundrel 

If he opposed the seamen he transform'd 

to mutineers. 


On this he holloas hoarsely, and for 

aid begins to yelp ; 
We bound his hands behind his back, 

and ran him through the door. 
His officers were locked away, and no 

man else would help 
This bully of a crew as good as any 

crew of yore. 


Then (gentlemen), this girl-faced man 

about our duty stutters, 
And (ladies, kind) against our act a 

pitiful protest sputters. 
We told him to belay his jaw, and 

batten down his fears. 
Our justice with him would not 

'Twas either boat or yard-arm halter : 
For he it was, the plump-faced Bligh, 

who made us mutineers. 


The ocean stream'd in splendour to the 

brilliant far-off line : 
It was a spacious scene of sea to frame 

a little boat. 
The topsail lies aback, and aft the large 

glazed port-holes shine 
Down on the blue, like castle windows 

on a flooded moat. 
(O gentlemen !) Says Bligh, * What 

have I done that this should be .'' ' 
(O ladies !) ' No more words I ' I cried. 

' Choke down your dastard plea ! 
Avast with you, you tyrant, with your 

threats and odious sneers, 
I am in hell ! — that is the thing ! 
I am in hell ! — that is the sting ! 
Sent there by you, you cruel fiend, who 

made us mutineers ! ' 



' Huzza, for Otaheite ! ' was the cry we 

sailors rais'd. 
We sent the boat adrift with Bligh and 

eighteen other men. 
They went away, the most of them, 

white, staring, and half-dazed. 
With narrow store of vittles : we 

should never meet again. 
(O gentlemen !) 'Twas duty, and a 

manly spirit bid us : 
(O ladies !) did we sin t' avenge the 

cruel wrongs he did us ? 
Alone in our far exile we discourse of 
home with tears. 
Then trust your tars as sailormen, 
Don't let your captains fail us men. 
And hearts of oak you'll find us men. 
Not Bounty mutineers. 

The Plymouth Buccaneers 

From Plymouth Bay we sail'd away 

afore a cheerful gale, 
Our quarry was the San Paulo, a galleon 

of old Spain. 
We knew if we fell in with him our 

cannon would not fail. 
A million pieces of eight, my 

boys ! 
And silver — tons in weight, my 

joys 1 
In crucifix and altar-piece would prove 

our noble gain. 
Five hundred stood upon the Hoc to 

watch us sailing out, 
And whilst our white sails grew aloft 

the gallants gave a shout, 
And waved their hats and bawled again 

and rent the wind with cheers. 
Huzza for old Spain's galleon and the 

Plymouth Buccaneers ! 



From Acapulco was he bound to come 

around the Horn ; 
And when we sailed the galleon was 

three thousand leagues away ; 
But steering large we swept in foam, 

and on the morrow's morn, 
We filled our cans with sack, my boys ! 
And drank to Spanish Jack, my joys ! 
The Scilly Isles were far astern and so 

was Plymouth Bay. 
We swore by paterero, and by swivel 

and by saker. 
That if we came across * Saint Paul ' 

we'd founder or we'd take her. 
We'd take her though to find her we 

should keep the sea for years, 
For fiery is the spirit of the Plymouth 



With roaring bows and shrieking shrouds 

we thundered to the Line, 
'Twas Maypole on the village green in 

merry England then : 
We cut th' Equator May-day, Anno 
sixteen eighty-nine. 
Says lion-hearted Rice, ' My boys. 
He'll be among the ice, my joys,' 


('Twas naught but ' booty and the Don' 

at sea among us men) 
* When we are stemming southward 

where the coast stands white and 

They've stout hearts in the Tropiques, 

but they're cowards in the cold. 
But what'll be their shivers say, and 

what'U be their fears 
When told the men who lust for 'em 

are Plymouth Buccaneers ! ' 


Whilst northward of the niountain bergs 

by ten degrees at least, 
Keen daylight flashed the ocean into 

lines of brilliant blue — 
'Twas Master Rice, our Skipper, who 

stood blinking at the east. 
Roars out, 'O Jesus ! see my boys ! 
He's dead upon our lee, my joys ! 
Hang out your ancient 1 cheerly load ! 

we'll ply him fast and true ! 
How like a lordly castle sits the Don 

upon the sea 1 
Where's room enough for Spaniards 

there is room enough tor me. 
He marks us and he makes a leg as 

slowly off he sheers ; 
No, good my lord ! your treasure is 

the Plymouth Buccaneers.' 


* Ease off your sheets — the mizzen furl ! 

a long chase hath begun ! 
Prepare your stink-pots, hand-grenades, 

stack store of pikes at hand ! 
We'll have him in some hour to-day 

'twixt morn and evening sun. 
A thousand tons all told, my boys 1 
There's millions in his hold, my joys ! 
By thrice two hundred soldiers, priests 

and sailors is he manned. 
His cannon peer like heads of snakes 

from four score yawning ports. 
He's armed with minions, culverins, 

and murtherers of all sorts ; 
But what say ye, my Plymouth hearts } 

do they arouse your fears ? 
We have no saints to pray to, but — 

we're Plymouth Buccaneers.' 


' Now pitch a shot and try the range — 

we're closing him amain ! 
He answers ! and the ill-sped ball 

squirts up the yeast abreast ! 
Now luff and ply him fierce as hail and 
fast as thunder-rain — 
His flag droops from its peak, my boys! 
Its eloquence is weak, my joys ! 


Is weak — is spent ! O goodly shot, 

the youngest and the best ! 
And now he rounds in foam of wrath 

to bring his guns to bear ; 
So ! keep your luff, O courteous Don, 

and hold it, if you dare ! 
You're big, we're small ; we're short, 

you're tall ; you'll vex us not by 

sneers ; 
Our King is not a Spaniard, and we're 

Plymouth Buccaneers.' 


We swept right down upon the Don, 

his guns their red flames spout ; 
The sun was not yet near his bed when 

we did range alongside ; 
His face was dim behind the smoke as 

though his light was out ; 
Our blood streamed black on deck, 

my boys ! 
But little did we reck, my joys ! 
Our hellish blasts had cleared the 

heads that showed above his strong 

We heard amid the pauses in the roaring 

of the guns, 
The priests a-singing Aves and the 

chantinor of some nuns. 


We pitied those sleek fathers and were 

sorrier for their dears, 
But booty was our quarry : we were 

Plymouth Buccaneers. 


At five o' th' clock we grappled him — 

'twas yard-arm and yard-arm. 
His scuppers gush'd in crimson on our 

low tormented deck ; 
Our belching stink-pots drove his people 

forward out of harm 
Away into close quarters, boys ! 
And sheltered thus they fought us 

joys ! 
Our boarders charged in wrathfulness 

that could not suffer check. 
We sprang aloft and from the yards 

dropped, fiend-like, on the Spaniard, 
Our top sail yard-arm paralleled that 

galleon's mighty mainyard ; 
And ere the sun had sunk his shield 

we'd hurled below with cheers 
The last of those who durst oppose the 

Plymouth Buccaneers. 


The Captain of the galleon and four 

Lieutenants too. 
Had died like men by pike and ball, 

and, ere we dredged the hold, 


We buried them with musketry, and 

others of that crew 
Who perish'd in that fight, my boys ! 
That lasted till the night, my joys ! 
We funeral'd with our Plymouth 

hearts who number'd ten all told. 
But under hatches under guard, we held 

the well and wounded. 
And piled our hold with treasure till 

the cock his clarion sounded. 
The moonlight helped our vision, for 

the battle-smoke soon clears, 
And by the morn the millions were the 

Plymouth Buccaneers'. 

When deep our little spunky ship lay 
rolling in the sea. 

We lifted all the hatches of the castle- 
grand galloon 

And calling up her sick and well, we 
said, ' Senors, you're free 
For Mexico again, my boys ! 
To load afresh for Spain, my joys ! 

Ye will not meet us here, oh no, for 
many a coming moon.' 

And thrice we swell'd our tough throats 
in the cheers we felt a duty. 

One for our ship, one for the Don, the 
heartiest for our booty. 


Then trim the yards, we fill our cans, 
for home our helmsman steers, 

With cheers for James our Sov'reign 
and the Plymouth Buccaneers. 

In Chains 

(The Gibbet on the Sandhills, Deal, 1784) 

Along the glimmering Sandhills blows 
The salt-damp wind in gusts and moans. 
The flying moonlight comes and goes ; 
The breakers pour in organ-tones. 
Within the dusk beyond the beach, 
The billows glance in glow-worm light ; 
The sheen as far as eye can reach 
Is pale as corpse-lamps in the night. 
How like a midnight cemet'ry 
Look the dark waters ! in the ray 
Ot every pallid crest you see 
A gravestone in that surge's play. 
An ocean's sob is in the air, 
Its cold, dark spirit's on the land ; 
The scud makes wild the sudden stare 
Of moon upon the hollow sand. 
And in that sob and in that chill, 
And in the moonlight's flashful freak, 
What is the sound that's never still ? 
It is the gibbet's chains which creak ! 
D 49 


'Tis there ! the moonshhie touches it ! 
It dangles twenty-one feet tall ; 
Those iron links the dead man fit. 
Oh, weather-proof's that funeral pall ! 
A white clout masks his caged face, 
His clothes not yet have dropped in 

Knee breeches and a coat of lace. 
Buckles — but of the rest what matters ? 
Is he more ghastly as he sways 
Full-clothed, than when his bleach'd 

ribs shriek 
With keen Nor'-Easters through the 

And moonless midnights black and 

bleak ? 
That man was once a mother's joy. 
Her heart danced to his baby mirth ; 
What's that up there ? the ghastliest 

Death ever grinned at on this earth ! 
Sure civilisation must be proved ! 
Some great example must be hit on : 
What better in a cause beloved 
Than hang in chains a free-born Briton ? 

That thing was once a mariner 
Who wilfully his vessel lost, 
And so the man is dangling there. 
Provided for at public cost. 


A starling's nest will warm his ribs, 
A carrion-crow will clear the clay ; 
What ail'd him ? he told hideous libs, 
Insured, then robbed as cast-away. 
Stand close ! fear not ! he'll heed you 

The moonshine flying makes him leap ! 
How queer he looks in all his clothing 
In airy cage as though asleep ! 
The ocean's moaning frosts the veins. 
And here, a symbol near the sea — 
Behold upon the Sandwich plains, 
Britannia's Christianity ! 

But who is slie that comes this way. 
Painfully as though life were done ? 
At the Dead's foot she kneels to pray ! 
Hats off! that man there was her son. 

Mother and son I who durst condemn ! 
Christ is our Lord who died for them. 

The Man Who Wasn't There 


Some things there are you can be 

taught, and some you'll never larn ; 
As bo'sun of the vessel, why, of course 

I knows the yarn. 
The reason why I know is, I was through 

the whole affair. 
The question that I ask is, ' Who's the 

man that wasn't there } ' 

She was a Yankee privateer, the tallest 

of her size ; 
A schooner of St Malo that had been a 

British prize ; 
A Yankee frigate took her in a fight 

that cost her dear ; 
A Philadelphia Quaker sent her out as 


Brass cannon made her spicy with their 

lights like little suns ; 
Her yards and booms and lofty masts 

were fit for a thousand tons. 


Nimble with mighty spread of sail, and 

named The Puritan ; 
Her quarry on the high seas was the 

British merchantman. 

Why gape you ! 'Cos at Wapping 1 

was hatched a bumboat chicken ! 
Is't because I'm Enfjlish that old 

England 1 must stick in ! 
I'll fight for her and sarve for her for 

money and for clothing, 
But, damn me if I'll starve for her by 

living at home on nothing 1 

With England were the States at war 

on questions none would shelve ; 
The year it was one thousand and eight 

hundred and add twelve ; 
We were the schooner Puritan^ whose 

like was woundy rare, 
Whose crew asked one another, * Who's 

the man that wasn't there ! ' 

Our Captain was a long-faced cuss, 

peak-cheek'd and yellow skinned ; 
He'd pile bad language through his 

nose in calm sea or head wind. 
He drank raw rum, his toes were 

square, he had a beastly manner ; 
He called himself a Yankee though he 

came from Louisiana. 


The Mate was a slab-sided man from 

New York City hailing, 
His very eyeballs squinted oaths, whilst 

rum too, was his failing ; 
The Second Mate he drank and swore 

more fearful than the others ; 
These three men by the crew were 

called, 'The Devil's Band of 


Indeed we were a drunken and a wicked, 

swearing ship : 
The Puritan ! a Quaker's sneer at piety 

o' th' lip. 

One day we chased a brigantine, but lost 

her in the gloom ; 
The night was full of windy noise, the 

dark was of the tomb. 
Just as I gained the forecastle a man 

came from the wheel : 
I says, 'What are you mumbling? are 

you sick or howd' yer feel ? ' 
' Feel ? ' answered he : ' Vy, blindt 

me daft, who vould not it o'er- 

vhelm .'' 
Py Cot I'se been a-standing mit a 

stranger at der helm ? ' 


* Art drunk ! ' says I, ' A stranger ! ha' 

yer ne'er a saint t'have prayed to ? 
Yer spoke to him?' 'I didn't — ' 

' Why ? ' * Pecause 1 vas afraid to.' 
'The Captain, did you tell him!' 

' Ay.' ' What said he — ? sing out 

' He kick'd me o' the preech and pawl'd, 

"You tam'd infernal liar ! " ' 

He was a Finn ; we bid him this here 
crazy yarn to throttle : 

* You've magic,' says us, *in the art oi 

keeping full a bottle ;* 
But heed us, O you Roosian Finn, if 

Finnish frauds you boast. 
We'll heave you overboard, my son, 

and that'll end your ghost ! ' 

Now three days later, going aft to see 

to something there, 
I hears the Mate say to the Captain, 

'AVho's that in your chair .'* ' 
The old man he lets fly ! ' My chair ! ' 

he yells with face aglow ; 
The Mate steps to the skylight and 

with square thumb points below. 

* Sec Dana's Two Vears before the Mast. 


The Captain he puts In his head and 

roars out, ' Who's down there ? ' 
No answer : all Is silence : so he rushes 

down the stair. 
Then up he comes : ' Why, fire your 

soul ! there's no one to be seen ! ' 
*I can't help that, sir ; if he's gone I'll 

take my oath he's been. 

* I saw him sitting In your chair, his 

face was white and dead ; 
His pale eyes followed as I passed, and 

then he turned his head.' 
The Captain cursed the Chief Mate 

who In hideous echo roar'd. 
The matter of their quarrel could be 

heard by all on board. 

It made us sweat to think we sarved a 

ship by ghost possessed, 
Who'd show himself to one alone whilst 

hidden from the rest. 

Next day the look-out up aloft where- 

from the sea he scanned. 
Came down the back stay with a run, 

ape-wise hand over hand. 
The Second Mate an oath raps out, 

'What's there to make you drop.^* ' 

* A man that you can see through ; did 

you guess I was gwine to stop ^ ' 


We look'd ; no man was there ; but 
all ne'er doubted it must be him : 

'Twas horrible to feel him there : and 
yet but one man see him ! 

Some twenty sailors saw the man before 

he came to me ; 
'Twas o'er the foc'sle rail I leaned, my 

eyes were on the sea ; 
'Twas in the second dog-watch and the 

breeze was brisk and steady, 
Our wake a full league stretched astern, 

fan-tail'd in foaming eddy. 

When chancing to upturn my gaze, 

upon the larboard cathead 
A figure sat with marbled eyes and 

sand-pale hair all matted. 
His face was like a dead-man's face 

that comes to you in dreams, 
The face that looks a human face but is 

not what it seems. 

I clearly saw the scarlet evening shining 

through his shape. 
I thou^rht he wore a doublet slash'd and 

over it a cape ; 
There broke a meaning from his eyes, 

its sense I could not tell ; 
Thinks I, as you are not from Heaven, 

you're sartainly from Hell. 


' Look ! see him there ? ' I whispers Bill, 

and Bill turns to and stares. 
* He's on the larboard cathead, Mate ! 

blue ruin ! how he o-lares ! ' 
'There's nothing but the cathead there,' 

says Bill, 'that I can view.' 
'But though he ain't in sio-ht he's ///£■; ^ ! ' 

said others of the crew. 

It vanished as the damp dies out upon 

the glass you breathe on : 
Such sights would make me holy had I 

been a raging heathen. 
I said my prayers both morn and night, 

and others too v/ere pious ; 
But th' old man* still swore horrible, 

and called us gory liars. 

The last afore the Captain was the 

drunken Second Mate, 
Whilst drinking in the cabin ; when, 

agin him, where he sate 
The Figure stood a-watching as it 

watched us men afore, 
On which the Second Mate yells out, 

and rushes throug-h the door. 

* The Captain is always called ' the old man ' by 
the sailors. 


A lunatic with terror, and we hoped 

he'd break his neck, 
He sprang and howled in Bedlam note 

about the rolling deck ; 
The Captain full o' curses, work'd his 

arms just as a mill goes, 
Then 'Bosun,' roars he, *jump below 

and clap hini in the bilboes ! ' 

The two Mates now had seen 'un, and 

all others of the crew : 
Our fierce swashbuckling Skipper still 

denied that it was true. 
In blue-fire language he declared the 

reason of our tunk 
Was, 'cos the man as saw the Man was 

at that moment drunk. 

He says ' Why don't He come to me ? 

because I'm never tipsy. 
He knows there's no man soberer afloat 

upon the deep sea. 
A goblin of the punch-bowl, he's a 

spectre of the noggin ; 
And smite me ! he that sees him next 

shall taste a pickled flogging ! ' 

One morning I was aft with gear, for 

turning in a dead-eye. 
The sky was quick with darting clouds, 

the hands for stations ready ; 


Upon our lee-bow hung a light, as 

meteors spin in foam ; 
Cloths of a ship of Europe, bound with 

studding-sails for home. 

With every cracking stitch we swept 

just like a white snow squall ; 
The yeasty race flash'd, fled and smoked 

like foot of waterfall. 
The brass guns shone, our tackling 

shriek'd, with every gust that 

bowed her. 
More fiercely did she tear the seas 

whilst piped the musick louder. 

The Captain took his long spy-glass, 

and crossed to the lee rail. 
The cream-soft spume fled close 

beneath : awhile he watched the sail. 
Then turns he for to speak ; but oh ! 

what sudden change is here ? 
His eyeballs strain from out their skull 

— he's petrified by fear ! 

The spy-glass falls upon the deck — his 

fingers spread awide. 
His cross and narrow stare proclaims 

the figure close beside. 


'What art thou?' the blasphemer 
cries i' the lock-jaw's hollow tone. 

*Thy face is pale, thine eyes are dead ; 
who sees thee, stands alone ! ' 

* Christ's mercy 1 ' scream'd he to the 

Mate who conned beside the wheel, 
'D'ye see him?' 'No, and nor did 

you ! but that he's there I feel ! ' 
' What art thou ? ' yells the Captain : 

' I can see the rigging through thee ! 
Th' horizon rules thy shoulders as a 

ratline whilst I view thee, 

'Thy face is but a likeness as the ocean 

paints the moon, 
Thine hair is tangled like the drown'd, 

thine eyes are in a swoon ! 
They're cold — they're dead — they're 

jellies like the eyes of par-boil'd 

Avast ! Avaunt ! thou damned thing ! 

tho' straight from Hell or 

God! . . . 

' What ! gone is it ? why ; being so — 
some brandy ! bear a hand ! 

See how I shiver ! fill the glass ! by 
ivhat am I unmann'd ? 


He'll come again ? why, sooner that — 

ne'er reckon it a pity — 
Up helm ! I'll drop this haunted chase ! 

trim sail for Boston City ! ' 

At this a general murmur rose : the 

crew, all told, assembled ; 
We held a council, many spake ; for th' 

old man's life I trembled. 
Then aft step some : 'D'ye mind 

you jawed of punch-bowl and of 

Says you, " The last that see the Man is 

in for a pickled flogging." 

' Which'll be, to keep at sea and give 

us chance of booty. 
Or head for Boston and be flogged in 

your durned name of duty } ' 
He understood and scowled at them : 

he knew them mostly devils. 
' Grant time to think ; I need to 

drink to choose 'twixt two such 


He goes below and locks his door, mad 

horror in him reigns. 
'Twas eight bells second dog-watch 

when the wretch blew out his 



Here ends my song : for what is lett 1 
doubt if you would care : 

Yet let me ask this question : ' Who's 
the man that wasn't there ? ' * 

* 'Those of his crew who were taken alive told 
a story which may appear a little incredible ; 
however, we think it will not be fair to omit it, 
since we had it from their own Mouths. That 
once upon a Cruise they found out, that they had 
a Man on board more than their Crew ; such a 
one was seen several days among them, sometimes 
below, and sometimes on Deck, yet no man in 
the Ship could give an Account who he was, or 
from whence he came ; but that he disappeared 
a little before they were cast away in their great 
ship, but, it seems, they verily believed it was the 
Devil.' — Capt. Charles Johnson's v^ General History 
of the Pyratcs (1726), 4th Ed., vol. i., p. 89. 


(To Maroon. An old form of sea-punishment. 
A man was set ashore upon a desert island or 
uninhabited coast with a musket, ammunition, 
and food to last a few days, and left.) 

A PLACID sea, a breathing breast, 

A wistful blue like a Scotch girl's 

een ; 
Upon the light of her sails, at rest, 
A saucy schooner may be seen. 
With each soft roll she shows her 

Her brasswork sparks in little suns. 
The copper, rising to the bends, 
A gold light with the brine's blue 

Her silk-like sails with shadows 

Flash out and fide like a gull's wings 

A beautiful and deadly schooner, 
Whose flag proclaims that Pyrates 

own her. 



Why lurketh she ancar that isle 
Hove to within, say, half a mile ? 
The larboard gangway is unshipped and 

overboard a boat is hove ; 
She breaks the water like a rock — you'd 

think that jolly-boat was stove. 
* Now tumble in ! ' shouts Captain Skull. 

' Give him a musket ! ' is his yell : 
' Biscuit, water, powder and ball : then 

leave him to enjoy that hell 1 ' 


That Hell ! at noon heaven's eye of 

Stares shadowless upon the island. 

The foam-heap'd beach soars high 
and higher. 

Where rears the mid-isle's bush- 
strown high land. 

On coral shore whose sheen is pearl, 

Breakers their rainbow-thunder hurl ; 

One Mountain lifts a burning cone ; 

Clouds rise from it : it stands alone. 

'Tis Nature's altar to her Lord, 

Who there, with heart of fire's adored. 

Prismatic birds there sing and call ; 

With madrigals the waterfall 

Sweetens all sounds ; and sott de- 

Is found in shadows cool as night. 


Who sighs not for this Paradise — but 

hold ! no human thing is there ! 
Trees, flowers and sparkhng cataracts 

and perfumed dells, gay birds o' 

th' air ; 
The music of the fanning trees, the 

organ-throb of the breaker's roll — 
But these things to a lonely man ? can 

they suffice a lonely soul ! 


A fissure's in that coral strand. 
Beyond it is a wide ravine. 
The surf soars high on either hand. 
The water smoothly spreads between. 
For that small creek the rowers made. 
Fierce, black-hued rogues in heart 

and trade. 
With pistol'd belts and tassel'd caps. 
Shapes fit for chains and iron wraps. 
Their oars strike sun-gold from the 

brine — 
No brutaller fiends e'er crossed the 

And with them sat their murdered 

Alive, but doomed to an hideous fate. 
To live alone, alone to die. 
Never a ship to come anigh ! 


To starve, to groan, O hearts of stone, 
through blinding day and moonless 
night ! 

To stare into the distant sea till mad- 
ness come with fainting sight ! 

Such thoughts were in those ruffians' 
hearts when now and then they 
heard him moan ; 

Fiends as they were they could not jeer 
and think of him as the^e^ alone ! 


They left him and he sat him down ; 
Beside him were his food and gun ; 
He watched them go : his fixed 

Was marble as by sculptor done. 
Upon the blue the row-boat blurred, 
She dwindled till she looked a bird. 
Then melted in the schooner's light, 
Who trimmed her sails and took to 

His eye was on her as she went ; 
Like ice-spires with the blue she 

Sank, star-like, in the liquid air. 
The o-reat Sea circled bright and 



As though of stone he sate and 

At the sea-line that writhed around ; 
The schooner, like a meteor, dipped and 

left the firm rim tenantless ; 
Then rose he with heart-shaking sigh 

and scowl of wrath and fierce 

What was this hapless wretch's crime 

which he in this wise must atone ? 
He looked aloft — God was not there : 

nor in that isle — he was alone ! 

Of all the Pyrates of his age. 

By gallows' height was this wretch 

Martel and Bonnet, Teach and Page, 
Rackham and others of the Accurst, 
Roberts and Briggs, and Smith and 

Were kings i' the Rovers' Inferno. 
But this man Roger Coate by name. 
In frightful crime put all to shame. 
In arson, plunder, murder, rape, 
In villainy of every shape. 
In cruelty beyond men's speech. 
Thrice- crowning even Blackbeard 



Completest artist then afloat 
Was this marooned man, Roger Coate. 
He had been Captain of the ship when 

Moses Skull had served as mate ; 
But Skull had won the crew's regard 

and turned their fear of Coate to 

' Maroon him ! ' was the cry of all who 

swore by Skull and his cross-bone : 
And so we find the schooner gone and 

Captain Roger Coate alone. 


How shocking is the moonlit-deep 
Who views it from his island jail ! 
How terrible the hills which sleep, 
The flowers which stand up cold and 

pale ! 
If this be to the lonely man, 
The honest Selkirk of Ju'an. 
Then what the horrors fill the air 
When the soul finds that God's not 

there ! 
'Tis Memory's actors throng the 

And mouth of now and what hath 

Each enters at the devil's nod 
For Satan is where there's no God. 


And what stage should the Pyrate's 

If not for hell-fired mimicry 
Of ravish'd wives and flaming ships, of 

murder'd Captain's corpse in water ; 
Of cruel plank and smoking hold, of 

drink, of booty, lust and slaughter ? 
They come to flout in reeling bout, to 

leap, to bleed, to drown, to groan — 
Wish you joy to the man maroon'd 

who's with his goblins all alone. 


That ocean gem's his ocean grave ; 
His ghosts are with him night and 

In nightmares shall the spectres rave, 
They'll gibber watching him decay. 
They'll act again their purple part : 
With teeth of fire they'll chew his 

He'll flee them on the coral sand. 
They'll fly with him on either hand. 
He'll seek the cloisters of the brake 
And find them waiting, wide awake. 
They'll chase him to the dizzy steep 
But th' heroic murderer durst not 



They'll shriek with laughter when he 

And chew his heart and pick his 

In thunder, gale, and bellowing sea, 

he'll hear the Spirits of the Past. 
In peace or storm each goblin plays the 

hideous part for which he's cast. 
His skeleton by sailors found shall 

never make his story known, 
How frightful was that beauteous isle, 

how horrible his life alone. 


The derelict, the water-logged, forsaken 

ship at sea, 
Floats symbol-wise ; the ocean's desola- 
tion is her own. 
No spirit of beauty visits her, I care not 

in what key, 
The abandoned ship subdues the strain 

to her lamenting tone. 
She's silvered by the moonlight, and 

she's gilded by the sun. 
She rolls touched into amber by the 

hectic of the west. 
She shapes herself in ivory when flames 

the Orient gun. 
She's phantom-like in starlight when by 

midnight winds caressed 
Oh grand's the line of battle ship, the 

frigate swells in white. 
The Indiaman is lofty and the schooner's 

sweetly clad ; 
The Thames barge stems with triumph 

when in painted cloth bedight ; 
But even when set in Beauty's foil, the 

abandoned ship is sad. 


The deck was hail'd one morning watch ; 

our ship was a South Spainer ; 
Old Jack, bawls down, 'There's some- 
thing black two points before the 

The day had broken bright and calm, 

and soon we saw her plainer, 
A black, soaked, wallowing lumpish 

hulk, fast sinking did she seem. 
We bore right down upon the 

wreck, and then we backed our 

tor 'sail ; 
Our Captain works his spy-glass with 

the hope to do some good, 
She'd not a rag of cloth on her save 

just a strip of foresail, 
Which signalled like a live man's 

weft* from the only mast that 

Her glistening shrouds snaked gliding 

from the channels to the raffle 
That rose and fell alongside in an 

hideous sea-ragout : 
To paint her would an artist (let alone 

a sailor) baffle. 
'Twas like a lump of buffalo hump in 

a country wallah's stew. 

* Or waft. A signal of distress. A flag tied 
in the middle, like a gamp umbrella, and hoisted. 


A wolf-like dog was howling on the 

rolling round-house top — 
A wail for help more sorrowful the 

human throat ne'er swelled ; 
Sometimes he'd lift his nose as asking 

water, yea, one drop, 
Then barked he in a husky note which 

human anguish held. 
'There's nothing else alive that I can 

see,' says Captain Tong ; 
' But take the boat and search her, for 

she's bound to tell some tale. 
She's drowned ; but overhaul what's 

dry, then bring that dog along. 
Did ever dog raise such a cry ? It's 

like a woman's wail.' 
The boat was launch'd, the mate and 

three go in her to the wreck ; 
The dog's howl ceased, the hulk lies 

still — for help that swept thing 

pines ; 
The mate and two the main-chains gain, 

and leap upon the deck. 
The dog springs from the round-house 

to the round-house door and whines. 

And what a whine was his ? You'd 
swear a woman's scream was in it. 

The mate first sought for water, but 
the dog refused a sip ; 


It whined again a fierce appeal — Mate 

Cock says in a minute, 
' 1 understand,' and follows to the cabin 

of the ship. 
The round-house formed a cabin, and 

two bedrooms flanked the door ; 
The dog runs to the larboard one ; 

what meets the mate his eyes ? 
The bodies of a woman and a baby on 

the floor ; 
The dog sniffs at the baby and the 

baby faintly cries. 
' Now bear a hand ! this infant take and 

pass into the boat. 
'The mother's dead as is this ship. 

Are more alive aboard ? ' 
' None fore nor aft ! ' ' Well, cheerly 

now 1 this hulk can scarcely float. 
' In with the dog ! off for our lives ! ' 

was the order Mate Cock roar'd. 

The baby was a little boy of sixteen 

months about, 
His eyes were blue, his hair was gold, 

his flesh as white as foam ; 
His three teeth gleam'd like almonds 

in his cherry-coloured pout, 
His innocence aboard us made the ship 

a dream of home. 


The dog would never leave his side ; 

that gaunt wolf-shape (all rib) 
Would go with him when carried, and 

would watch by him on deck ; 
And all night long, with one eye closed, 

he'd lie beside the crib 
We made for little baby when we 

brought him from the wreck. 
We dressed him as a sailor, and we 

called him Beauty Tong ; 
Our skipper, an old bach'lor, said the 

child should be his son ; 
But as an ocean-orphan to us Jacks did 

he belong : 
We held our rights in baby were the 

rights of everyone. 

'Twas thus we nursed him turn about, 

now Captain, Mate, or Man : 
And every sailor took his part in this 

engaging duty. 
We made him clothes, we made him 

toys, we did what soft hearts can, 
And none but would have died for him 

for love of little Beauty. 
What nosegays are in prison-cell, cold 

founts in desert sands ; 
The blackbird's song in gloomy courts, 

the kiss of sleep in pain. 


The hope in Christ when lov'd ones 

die, the rain in sun-scorched lands, 
Was he to us who worked ship through 

the waters of South Spain. 
The sailor-man though of a crew is 

lonely when at sea. 
His watch is lone, he steers alone, his 

shipmates sleep or sew ; 
In watch on deck he's kept at work 

and silent all must be, 
'Tis hammock or the choking meal 

when he is piped below. 

So it befell, this child was as a star that 

lights the night 
In dull and wearing labours of our 

year-long ocean strife. 
He shone on our hearts' compass-card 

so that we read it right. 
To love a child's to love the truth and 

all God loves in life. 
And yet ! oh, it must happen ! was 

that dog of steadfast heart 
God's prophet whilst he kept watch by 

our little Beauty's bed ? 
He whined throughout the hours one 

night as knowing they must part. 
And in the dawn the Captain looked 

and found our darling dead. 


Then was there grieving in our ship : 

our little company- 
Had lost their star, their compass-card, 

their pure and only joy : 
The sanctity of death and grief was in 

that ship at sea. 
Oh think ! who made us men in heart 

was but a baby boy ! 

Of sail-cloth, with a round shot, was 

our baby's wool-white shroud ; 
Each sailor took a toy of his and kept 

it for his sake. 
The body at the gangway made the 

roughest sob aloud. 
No flowers had we, but garlands wrought 

of foam-wreaths in our wake. 
It blew a pleasant breeze, the sails like 

shells prismatic stand. 
Cool melodies of fountains float on 

either side the ship. 
The dog the body watches, scarce a 

sailor but's unmann'd, 
The Captain reads the prayers out with 

moist eye and quivering lip. 
The white-robed burden glances from 

the seaman's tilted plank, 
Instant the dog leaps after it ! ' Down 

helium ! ' the Captain cries. 


That ribb'd shape had not sprang to 
swim — stone-like that arcat heart 

Are men as loyal as was this dog, when 
friend or sweetheart dies ? 

Oh, be the children dear to us, for 

they're of heaven above, 
And let the faithful dog be dear, the 

friend of every one. 
The children bring from God their 

home the pledge of endless love, 
The dog will live and die with you 

when human love is done. 

The Middle Passage 


The hot sea sheeting to its rim is like 

a plain of yellow grease ; 
Its surface swarms with sheen of oil 

which coils and swells with ghostly- 
That sullen bosom is not rest ; that fiery 

stillness is not peace ! 
The terror of the earthquake's shock 

sleeps in that scene of Tropic ocean. 
The confines steam in sweat of heat, the 

sky looks down with brassy stare ; 
The pale sun in the water hangs a 

lemon's image under him ; 
The Spirit of Life is breathless 'neath those 

heights of soundless thunder there ; 
Forms phantom-like as shapes in dreams 

glare out, then sulkily grow dim. 


No breath of God that jelly breast gives 
life to in a fleeting twinkle ; 

It seem'd as hell had belch'd a flame 
which, gone, had left the sea aghast. 


The wail half-moon lay like a scar, upon 

the sky a dry pale wrinkle ; 
The shark's wet lifted fin scarce shines 

before its sudden lightning's passed. 
Centred within that fire-fed zone a 

schooner floats, a gracious form. 
Long, keen, low, black, a clipper bow, 

sheath'd to the bends with yellow 

Vast pinions for the Doldrums' sigh or 

for the blast of ocean's storm, 
Swift as a stag or Arab steed to chase, 

to fly, to lose or get all. 

The schooner was the Laughing Girl^ a 

slaver own'd in Liverpool ; 
She carried eighteen carronades, a bow 

and one sternchaser, too ; 
Her scantling was of fortress-strength, 

a gallant ship the waves to rule. 
But oh ! God's love ! contrast her with 

the meaning of the flag she flew ! 
Now as she roasting floated, on her 

decks of almond whiteness paced 
Her Captain (Williams) and Mate Jones, 

whilst forward on the foc'sle-head, 
Her sailors loll'd in shade of sail — the 

furnace-heat could not be faced. 
Although that eye of flame above was 

rayless like a sun that's dead. 




*Blow, blow, you sweet winds, where 

are ye ? ' cries Captain Williams to 

his mate ; 
^ This is the mill-horse round of life ; 

and where'll you find the sea-line 

bigger ? 
'Tis cockroach all and footy grease : it 

isn't hotter at hell's gate ; 
And hark ! the wailing through the 

gratings — hangels themselves can't 

please the nigger.' 
* Six hundred,' says the bull-faced mate, 

' makes hishee-hashee fit for stewin ' ! 
So 'elp me ! if they're not fetched up to 

breathe, in gangs, an hour of air, 
Two-thirds 'uU perish and the rest will 

mean the mate's and master's ruin. 
Hark to their groans ! the children's 

cries are almost more than I can 


* Avast, you tallow liver'd swab ! ' cried 

Captain Williams, fierce and yellow, 

* Are slaving men young ladies, ha ? 

Turn to and blow a galleon's breeze ! 
Belay your sentimental whine : we'll 
clap a choke on yelp and bellow ; 


The wind that gives the schooner legs 

shall bring those yawling black 

fiends ease.' 
But what is that ? see West-Sou'-West ! 

the sea-line's blue, the air is 

clearinor • 

* A sail ! A beam ! ' our forecastle hails ; 

* I see her like a star there growing ! 
She brings the wind — 'tis blue ahead ! 

what is the road the stranger's 

steering ? 
A man-of-war ? you lily heart ! oh ! if 

you durst say //w/, not knowing — ! ' 


To wind'ard in a broadening path ot 

blue and splendour hung the star ; 
The sea was sweet with dainty lace in 

every ripple's nimble head. 
The brassy veil stream'd off the sun, 

the girdle shone glass-clear afar. 
You thought of the sudden scene of life 

when Christ shall judge the Quick 

and Dead. 
The stranger now had rais'd her hull, her 

growth of canvas proved her pace ; 
How proud aloft in height of hoist ! 

her larboard studding sails were set ; 


The white foam sprang in snow and 
gold, and frolick'd to the counter's 

The Captain of tne slaver says * yf -SnVijA 

twenty gun corvette ! ' 


* Hell's thunder ! Do you see her flag ? 

the halliards arch beyond the leach ; 
We'll show no colours ! Here's the 

breeze ! Up helm, and off for life 

or death ! 
Ease, nimbly, ease ! how doth she spin 1 

the corvette yaws — flames red in 

speech ! 
A gun !. the round ball drops astern. 

So, curse you, waste your hated 

breath ! 
Now luff ! how bend the loaded masts ! 

huzza ! the bright brine leaps the 

Load to the muzzle — take good aim — 

• those bolts proclaim our caliber. 
The devil choke those howls below ! 

. . . why, twenty she could we 

outsail !v 
And shall the schooner, Laughing Girl, 

be taken by the like o^ her?' 



Now when the Slaver haul'd the wind the 
corvette put her hehn down too : 

Took, in her stunsails, tried the range ; 
then one by one five cannon blazed. ' 

'Twas breezing up, the weather-seaboard 
thick with ebony wet cloud grew ; 

The straining schooner flashes on, a 
sentient thing by fear half-crazed. 

Again, again her cannon belch, and silk- 
white clouds sweep through her 

In cataracts the crystals roar in snow- 
soft spume and shrieking streams. 

And midst the warring din of guns, the 
sailors' shouts, the freshening blasts. 

You hear the agony below in men's 
deep moans and women's screams. 


* We'll thrash her hull down 'ere 'tis 

gloom, and lose her when it comes 

on black. 
Stand firm ye spars, good tacks, stout 

sheets ! the joke i? his whp last 

hath laughed ! 
Cease firing ! up preventer stays ! rowse 

aft each sheet, bowse taut each tack : 
So ! all is well ! now luff a point ; she's 

square-rigged, "oce are fore and att ! 


May fire consume those blacks below ! 

they sink in hell a deeper hell ! 
We'll trail a long gun through the hatch 

and silence 'em by help of langridge. 
The corvette's lungs are in her guns ; 

the slaver's heels our rhetoric tell ! 
Those screeching black owls in the hold 

shall hear us speak the corvette's 



To larboard the Avenger hangs ; the 

wind amain takes tempest-weight ; 
She rages through each boiling trough, 

mad as a struck whale crimson- 
In the fresh breeze that bows her down 

the slaving schooner hears her fate ; 
'Tis shrilled in shrouds, 'tis drummed 

in sail, 'tis hideous in the negroes' 

The lightning leaps, the thunder roars, 

the corvette tops a bursting sea. 
Her side flames in a line of fire — the 

tempest storms — the black bolt 

smites ; 
The pale shape of the Laughing Girl has 

vanished on the corvette's lee. 
And nothing but a mastless hulk rides, 

foam-swept, to her ruined heights ! 



That broadside was the hand of God : 

it swept the masts clean overboard : 
It killed the Captain and five men, and 

left the Laughing Girl a raft. 
The corvette stood by all that night, 

for through the ni":ht the ocean 

warred ; 
The morn disclosed //tr still full-rigged : 

but where was she^ the fore and aft ? 
A black length gleaming in the swirl : 

a few whites clinmno; here and there : 
Vollies of smoking crystals hurled 

volcanic from the mountain waves 1 
'Twas not before the afternoon that even 

those British hearts would dare 
To face that hollow sea and board the 

Laughing Girl to free the slaves. 


O pitying heart of Christ ! what scene of 

horror ever match'd that hold ! 
They raised the hatch and fell away, 

vomiting, from the putrid air : 
And faint and far came up the groan ot 

human beings of God's mould : 
So soaked in human sweat the haze, at 

first they saw not what was there. 


Six hundred made that Slaver's freight : 

they found but thirty-seven alive ; 
'Twas like the well of a fishing-smack, 

thick-laden with dead mackerel ; 
Women and children all lay choked, 

the lustiest blacks alone survive. 
Dear God ! that men should work for 

men more anguish than is found 

in Hell. 

But glory to the Crimson Cross : Star 

of the Slave where'er it glows. 
Schooner or junk, or Arab dhow, when 

that flag comes the Slaver goes. 
If we began this trade in man then this 

we own by land and sea, 
No matter how you read your laws, 

where Britain's flag flies there 

man's free ! 

Dance's Tea-Fight— 1804 

('To prevent all thought among my men of 
surrendering ye shippe and make ym desperate, 
I nailed the ensigne to the staft' from head to foot, 
stapled and fore-cockt the ensigne staff fast up. I 
resolved to part with shippe and life together.' — 
Extract from Log of Hon. E. I. Co's ship 
Chambers, 1703.) 

A Sailor Sings 

Did you ever hear tell of old Com- 
modore Dance, 
Who frighten'd Linois' heavy war- 
ships of France ? 
Over the sea, full of bohea. 
Silk worth in fathoms whole lakhs 

of rupee. 
Curios in ivory, cages of cockatoo. 
Monkeys so ill-bred they gibber and 

mock at you. 
Turban'd Hindoo, chairs of bamboo. 
Calicos, dimities, groceries too ; 
Hubble-hubbles and curry for greasy 



Christian and Musselman, Parsee 

and Jew. 
Here was a bag for that canny Mossoo ! 
Indigo, capsicum, joss from John's 

China plate, silver birds strutting on 

perches ; 
Masks and fans, pots and pans 

woundily fine. 
Camphor and betel to make the 

teeth shine ; 
Birds'-nests for soup-drinkers, puppies 

for potting. 
Skulls for museums, all grinning and 

Nankeen, musk, arrack, dried apples 

to stew. 
Malt and spruce essence to flavour 

the brew. 
Never again would Crapeau get the 

He had when invited to drink tea 

with Dance. 


'Twas early in the morning on the 

North Pacific Ocean ; 
A fleet of lofty Indiamen were coming 

from Canton. 


They slowly swayed, like snow-crown'd 

bergs, in soft majestic motion 
As though a quaint and solemn noise 

of musick led them on. 
Their royals were stowed, but still they 

rear'd a tower from each course ; 
In every open porthole grinned a 

dangerous British gun. 
I should not love to be the foe who 

fouled athwart their hawse. 
Whose fathers were the seamen that 

our mighty Empire won. 
Sinsf honour to the Commodore com- 

manding the Earl Camden ! 
What cared he for the Squadron but to 

mutter, ' They be d d, then } * 

What heeded M^arleys^ Alfred^ s^ Ganges 

hearts and all the others 
Who were as were Lord Nelson's men, 

' A Noble Band of Brothers ' } 
So beat to quarters ! sound the drum ! 

and wish that squadron joy. 
Who hoped to capture Dance for 

France through Admiral Linois. 

'Twas seen that Pura Auro bore exactly 

West South West, 
When Royal George made a signal of 

four strange craft French in rig 


Our ships were sixteen Indiamen, and 

of our fleet the rest 
Were Country Wallahs, forming thirty- 
nine sail and a brig. 
The sea looks full of stately craft, each 

bright breast fills with lightning 
The blue profound beneath the hulls 

whose bands with ordnance gape. 
The clouds hang in the sky like frost, 

the dim sea-line is whitening, 
A delicate film o'erspreads the course 

our China galleons shape. 
The Captains pace in cocked hat, with 

side arms and buttons beaming. 
Buff waistcoat and buff breeches, with 

some gold embroidery gleaming ; 
Blue coat lapell'd with velvet and square 

shoes whose buckles glow 
All giving life and colour to a spacious 

radiant show. 
Why should the lurking enemy our 

peaceful ships annoy .'' 
And shall you capture Dance for France ? 

We guess you won't, Linois ! 


The squadron was a Gallican, one 

massive seventy-four, 
Marengo flying Linois' flag ; the others 

were Berceau^ 


La Belle Poule^ and the Semillante^ and 

one black brijx of war : 
Twice ninety-four great cannon told the 

metal they could throw. 
Dance eye'd them through his telescope, 

then up a signal ran, 
To Kyi George^ Bombay CastU\ HopL\ 

and Alfred to go near. 
All fighting crews at quarters, and to 

critically scan 
The nature of that squadron, what it 

meant by being here. 
The Frenchmen crept to wind'ard, 

vague and doubtful how to act, 
The Com'dore flew fresh signals and 

our China galleons tacked. 
But now that Indian afternoon was 

saddening into night : 
Your Frenchmen are no cowards, 

but those Frenchmen would not 

Our battle-lanterns through the dark 

glowed wooingly enough, 
But Monsieur kept his distance and he 

also kept his luff. 
Quoi^ Messiems ? fear mere merchant- 
men, in ships of war, ma foy ! 
Not bound to France just yet 

was Dance, at least with you, 

Linois ! 



The morning sun the French reveal'd, 

topgallant leaches shivering ; 
The reef-points fringed their tops'ls 

like gold hair on beauty's brow. 
The early splendour lanced with fire 

the sea and held it quivering ; 
Our league-long fleet stemmed stately 

on the enemy's lee bow. 
At each gaff-end to wind'ard now the 

flag of France is flown, 
And in reply our halliards hoist 

Britannia's blue and red ; 
'Twas fit the symbol of the great 

Adventurers should be shown, 
For if the v/hite flag fight for us, by 

red Jack is it fed. 
Stand to your guns, my hearts of oak ! 

He's heading to attack us ! 
He'll find rich freight in plenty if his 

purpose is to sack us ! 
Round with the yards ! lee brace let 

go ! fire-blast him with hot spirit ! 
In England's name we'll never shame 

the blood we men inherit ! 
The French ships roared with thunder- 
bolts, red lightnings burst and burn, 
The Royal George is their target and some 

other ships astern. 


To fighting Englishmen at sea their 

life is but a toy ; 
Our cannon's blast meant France for 

Dance, not Dance for France, Linois. 

"Within an hour the Frenchman ceased 

to fire and haul'd the wind, 
Fled with a feather in his lip instead of 

in his cap.* 
He seemed to want for nothing but to 

leave our fleet behind ; 
'Twas just the same at Moscow and at 

Waterloo with Nap. 
On this Eiirl Camden s heights glow 

with the signal ' General chase ! ' 
Hip for the Country Wallahs' hearts ! 

for even ///<?)' join in ! 
We sprang about, true livelies ! was it 

not a glorious race .'' 
We haul'd and damned and trimmed 

and crammed — 'twas Dance not 

France must win ! 
The Frenchmen swept and wallowed ; 

and we wallowed too, but followed ; 
We fired until we tired, but the foe 

could not be collared. 

* ' Here she comes with a feather in her lip ! ' 
— Old sea-saying. 


' On ! on ! ' bawled Dance in bunting and 
each tor'sail strained to cracking ; 

'Twas not for want of seamanship, 'twas 
swiftness that was lacking. 

Our round bows burst in rainbows and 
our wake spread like a fan ; 

dignified and beautiful, but slow — 

the Indiaman. 
We press'd on to the evening, then, 

ah ! the keen annoy ! 
France fled from Dance, Dance gave up 

France and with her M. Linois. 

Now isn't this a rattling yarn about our 
Merchantmen ? 

1 hope they'll always act at sea well as 

they acted then. 
But sow the seed and nurse the Breed ! 

without Jack Muck's Marine 
You're helpless as a warship with an 

empty magazine. 
A day's at hand may come a King to 

make old France our joy. 
But th' Indiaman will then have passed 

the same as old Linois. 

The Ballad of Peter Serrano 

(As recited by Garcilasso do la \'ega, and 
included in the old Collections of Shipwrecks ; 
and as it was related by Peter Serrano to the 
Emperor Charles V. of Germany, and King of 
Spain (i 500-1 558) 'all which time he nourished 
his hair and beard, to serve as evidence and proof 
of his past life.' — Duncan's Mariner^ s Chronicle.) 


Garcilasso de la Vega ! we'll recall 

the sailor's bow 
When growling through an A'-je or a 

saint-and-candle vow. 
His sword-hilt was a holy cross to fright 

the circlino; demon ; 
How pious Garcilasso de la Vega was 

your seaman ! 
Beelzebub, la Vega, sends the ocean's 

goblins forth. 
'Tis Lucifer makes the Rainbow South 

the Line the same as North ; 
But tell, who salts the South Sea with 

the salt of the Atlantic ? 
And tell, who's impious semblanceb 

drive Spanish sailors frantic ? 

G 97 



Plunge hand into that fire-ball which 

floats at thy yardarm : 
It scorcheth not ? a flaming thing ! 

whence comes its hellish charm ? 
Look o'er the side — a fat man swims ! 

with lickerish eye he'll wink ! 
'Twill cost an Agnus Dei to compel 

that man to sink. 
Th' Enchanted Island draws the ship 

with viewless chains of magic, 
And if no holy priest's aboard the 

carrack's fate is tragic. 
The fire that leaps alongside's from the 

Sulphur Lake below ; 
'Tis Satan spins you water-holes to 

show the road to go. 


But for such sweatful terrors ye've the 

Litany and Ave^ 
The Pater Noster, Credo, and thine heart's 

cry in Peccavi ! 
But what's the power you read of 

in great Charles the Fifth, his 

Anno ? 
What but the sea could make God's 

mould so pitiful as Serrano ? 



Three little sand-isles blink upon a 

surface shot with pearl ; 
They twinkle like the heart-throb in 

the white wrist of a girl ; 
When tempests make the seas roar 

to the storm -god's shrieking 

The glares those islands, quivering, dart 

are like the lightning's flash. 
A carrack with fore-topmast gone rolled 

on the sulky heave, 
Her scuppers spouting brilliant brine 

proclaim her hull a sieve ; 
Within a mile the sand-isles shine like 

moons upon the blue. 
Her drift is sure — the water chains — 

what shall her Captain do ? 
With sudden roar the ship blows up ! 

sinks with an hundred lives ! 
La Vega, 'tis Serrano who alone that 

blast survives. 

With frog-like legs he struck the sand 
and waded through the surf; 

No sight had he of bush or tree or 
guinea-grass or turf; 


A blinding eye of brilliant sand whose 

lids are formed of foam ; 
No shelter from the vertic sun, no 

cavern for a home. 
He stood him up, this Peter, and the 

ocean he explored ; 
The raft-flat island brought the sea- 
line very close aboard. 
Now here, now there, a piece of blackened 

timber rose and fell. 
Or a red patch where sharks fed, 

stain'd the glass-smooth slope of 

Where are your isles, Serrano ? where 

were drown'd the carrack's crew ? 
La Vega maketh answer : 'Off the 

north coast of Peru.' 


No loneliness could equal his : the sea 
was at his throat ; 

He had no hut — no food — no drink — 
no wood to make a boat. 

He found some brackish water here 
and there in a sandy breast : 

He groped for shrimps and cockles, 
and he gorged them all un- 


The sun sank in a glorious shield which 

filled the western sky, 
'Twas big as three times twenty suns 

to that lorn sailor's eye. 
But scarcely was the fire-rim gone when 

from the east sprang night, 
Her velvet mantle flown with stars, her 

moon's horn full of light. 


Now from the night sinks Solitude 

upon Serrano's sand, 
And spectres of the carrack's crew walk 

pass'd on either hand. 
They rise up from the wan foam where 

the surf is making moan, 
And never doth one turn his head, but 

stalks as though alone. 
The weaving fingers of the dusk then 

conjure up a ship ; 
Serrano starts — the phantom fades — the 

cry dies on his lip. 
O Queen of Heaven ! it is those cheats 

of fountain, sail and beach 
Which break the heart with images no 

keel nor oar can reach. 
Of that first night, la Vega, yea thy 

wondrous verse hath spoken. 
But of Serrano's goblin-fears I find in 

thee no token. 



Those eyes of fire above him ! and 
those whispers in the air ! 

That fitful flash of phosphor ! and that 
drowned man's rooted stare ! 

That sobbing in the shadow ! and that 
scream of midnight bird ! 

The spectre that is seen not ! and the 
voice that's never heard ! 

The slumber of the dark moon in the 
bright arm of her horn ! 

The wheeling of the planets and the 
mystery of the dawn ! 

The charnel evocation by the moist 
smell of black weed ! 

The dark imaginations of a goblin- 
haunted creed ! 

La Vega ! is there ever from St Peter 


to Stefano 
A saint could rescue from the sea that 
sailor-man Serrano ? 


He needs a fire to make a smoke for 

passing ships to mark ; 
He dives and finds two pebbles, and 

his knife chips out a spark. 


He dries sea-weed tor fuel and with 

threads of shirt makes tinder ; 
La Vega ! tell what obstacles could this 

Serrano hinder ? 
He spies some turtle, cuts their throat, 

drinks deep in what they welter. 
He eats their flesh and with their 

armour builds himself a shelter. 
The sun hangs o'er him every noon, 

his clothes fall from his back ; 
He walks about, a naked man, his 

yellow skin turns black. 
Thick bristles clothe his leathern flesh, 

as stifle as horns of rams. 
His beard pours down below his knees, 

his hair conceals his hams. 


Man swings as true to self as to the 

north the card on gimbals, 
In suffering he is loud in prayer and 

gorgeous, too, in symbols. 
To saints he bows, to heaven he vows ; 

to remedy his evil, 
He keeps his flesh, forswears the 

world, and prays against the devil. 
But Senor de la Vega, I do pray thee 

name to me 
The saint whose will can cure or kill 

like him they call the sea .'' 


Is there a Power could mould God's 
clay born in the shape of man, oh ! 

Subduing the soul, as did the sea, t' 
inform that old Serrano ? 


In twelve revolving moons he is a 

prodigy out of Nature : 
A scaly, hair-robed, bristling fish, a 

two-legged alligator. 
How looketh he in thrice twelve moons, 

when one dim dawn he spied 
Upon his isle a lonely man close to 

the water-side ? 
He stood amazed ! transfixt with fear ! 

what ; Satan ? who but he ? 
The other turn'd, saw Peter — shriek'd 

and made as though to flee. 
' Aroint thee ! ' screams Serrano ; bawls 

the other, * What's thy breed ? ' 
' Avoid ! avoid ! ' yells Peter, and 

begins the Apostles' Creed. 
^ Et Verbum cato factum est'' . . . the 

stranger he began : 
' Art truly man } ' asks Peter — * 'Slife ! 

what other thins: than man ? ' 
On this into each other's arms they 

rush'd and Peter's shape 
Made t'other look as though a man 

was throttling a black ape. 



The stranger proved a Spaniard : by 

a plank the sand he gained. 
With water and some calipash this 

guest was entertained. 
A shipwreckt man as Peter was, but 

Peter had this curse, 
A sailor, he'd been changed to fish 

with bristles, scales and worse. 
The Spaniard looked him o'er and 

o'er, and Peter he stared back ; 
The Spaniard's skin was yellow, and 

Serrano's flesh was black. 
The Spaniard wore some clothing, and 

Serrano's coat was bristle ; 
His hosier was the hair that draped 

him, skin and bone and gristle. 
He was indeed a fountain gushing 

hair from head to knee : 
His guest could scarcely swallow food, 

so horrified was he. 


But time on sandy islets is the time ot 

towns which teem : 
Each actor is a shadow, and the drama 

is a dream. 


This thief of human life soon stript 

the Spaniard to the skin, 
If Peter looked like Satan sure the 

Spaniard looked like Sin. 
His hair spread out around his waist, 

his eye-lash almost blinded. 
Quoth Peter, * Man, your skin is blue, 

'twill soon turn black as mine did.' 
Scales swarmed as doth the cockle, but 

our Peter nourished bristles, 
Whilst t'other grew a crop of things 

that looked like inland thistles. 
Now were these men a marvellous pair 

and strangely like each other ; 
Our Peter look'd like Satan and the 

Spaniard like his brother. 


But though the Sea may rob a man of 

clothes and shift his fashions. 
She has no influence o'er the soul in 

changing human passions ; 
Thy story, Garcilasso de la Vega points 

this moral ; 
Conceive ye that these bristlers fell 

asunder through a quarrel .'' 
Both homeless and forsaken, they were 

naked cast-aways : 
Their fear was that upon this isle they'd 

hideously end their days. 


They wrangled o'er a turtle-steak ! 

with hot blood filled with hate, 
They fell to blows, and loud with oaths, 

swore to live separate ! 
'Tis law among the sages that all 

wisdom is expedience : 
To which, O Garcilasso, every man 

must yield obedience. 
A long week held these men apart 

through a week's freakful weather. 
Then each the other wanted and the 

bristlers came together ! 


The months pass, oh, the months pass, 

and a ship floats into sight : 
The smoke o' the frenzied castaways 

soars to a towering height ; 
The ship stems in on square wings and 

she sends a boat ashore ; 
But when the crew the lorn men see 

they hang upon the oar. 
'Who he they .''... Are ye demons } ' 

then they shout with straining eyes ; 
* We're Christians ! ' bawls Serrano, and 

they both chant litanies. 
' Oh hear us speak the Credo — -judge us 

not by what we wear ! ' 
' Men are ye ?' quo' the steersman, ' Or 

sea-goblins made ot hair ? ' 


They crossed themselves with frantic zeal, 

and both kept yelling * Save me ! ' 
The Spaniard sang a holy dirge, Serrano 

raved an Ave : 
They dance and kneel, with sobs appeal ; 

' D'ye call them monsters human ? ' 
The bowman says, * If so, who's here to 

swear he's born of v/oman ? ' 
But fear must yield to pity ; says the 

helmsman, * If so be 
You're truly what ye say ye are, then 

come along with me ! ' 
Serrano and the Spaniard both wade in 

and climb aboard ; 
The crew admired that they should 

kneel at once and thank the Lord. 


La Vega's tale is ended : first, the 

bristly Spaniard dies, 
In Spain arrives Serrano, very sad and 

very wise. 
He's sad by stress of memory, he's 

wise by stress of bread. 
He farms his beard and bristles, and 

with oil manures his head. 
Forth goes his fame before him, people 

flock from near and far, 
The Emperor Charles endows him 

and he dies at Panama. 


The barbers and wig-makers in Old 

Spain in Charles' Anno, 
Would flout the bald and woman- 

jowled by speaking of Serrano ; 
* D'ye seek your hair should grow,' 

they said, ' for dyes of every hue ? 
Then get ye shipwreckt, senors, off 

the north coast of Peru.' 

' The London ' Privateer 

[The London was an out-and-out pirate of the 
Black Flag ; but the Songster politely speaks of her 
as a letter-of-marque.) 


The schooner was a privateer known all 
wheres as The London ; 

The merchantman that she pursued was 
nearly always run down : 

Her crew were ninety fighting sailors 
led by Captain Rokeshill, 

She mounted swivels, carronades, and 
Long Tom on the fo'csle. 

Her masts were tall, her fore yards 
square, her sails cut to a tee, 

O like a ship of magic art, and milk- 
white foam was she. 

Her captain was a gentleman 
Of goodly quality, 

Whose noble blood and scutcheon ran 
Through books of heraldry. 

His eyes were dark, of pensive light. 
Sad as with years of study ; 

His teeth were like the apple-white 
Seen through the peel that's ruddy. 


He was a well-bred gentleman of lion- 
heart and spirit, 

Young, handsome, proud and manly 
with such charm as men inherit. 

He had no wife nor family to cause 
him joy or fear. 

And such was Captain Rokeshill of The 
London^ privateer 


A Convoy home was coming from the 

Indies of the West. 
No man-of-war was then afloat The 

London could not best ; 
In running or close-haul'd or with 

a spanking wind abeam 
She flash'd and fled like flakes of froth 

upon a river's stream. 
To hover on the Convoy's skirts and 

watch with tireless eyes ; 
To cut ofi^ some rich lagging craft and 

make of her a prize : 
This was the meaning of the course 

Set at the Channel's mouth ; 
Full West would be our next resource 

When we had sail'd full South. 
First run your latitude adown. 

The longitude then try ; 
And so you'll fetch your Port or Town 
Without anxiety. 


We swept the Channel bows in froth 

and fled along the seaboard, 
We needed not to 'bout ship for a 

weather or a lee board. 
The white race spun and spat astern to 

the sea-line keen and clear ; 
Our shrouds sang madrigals aboard 

The London^ privateer 


We cut th' Antillean parallel and clapt 

the helm aweather ; 
Her keen lip, as her side flash'd, wore 

the foam-curl of a feather. 
Until one morn there fell upon our 

ship a burnished calm, 
Which after days of high seas won the 

fancy like a psalm. 
The sun, small as the moon, hung as 

a lemon dim on high ; 
The ocean gleam'd like silk to where it 

melted in the sky. 
At each masthead keeps watch a man, 

A spy-glass round his neck ; 
Tlie tarnish'd distances to scan. 

Eager to hail the deck. 
The haze hangs like the dusty veils 

Of cobwebs in old rooms, 
And still the rayless red sun fails 

In the heat through which he looms. 


Sudden a cry falls from on high : ' A 

sail ! broad on the bow ! 
One — two — three — four ! I count no 

more — five — six ! — I see 'em now ! 
They seem to ooze li ke cloud-shapes from 

the dimness whence they steer — 
Seven — eight — nine — ten ! Huzza, 

men, for The London^ privateer ! ' 


Says the Captain * They're the Convoy, 

lads, of that we need not doubt ; 
A liner and three frigates and one brig 

I can make out. 
The wind that they are bringing comes 

ahead of them with ease ; 
Stand by to trim the canvas when we 

catch that sparkling breeze. 
There's nothing there to fright us whilst 

we keep well out of range : 
Our conduct must be order'd so they 

find us nothing strange.' 
And as he spoke the fiery air 

Gush'd full, and down she lay ; 
She hung like something breathless there, 

Then hissing, swept away. 
How gracious was her gift of speed ! 
What king's ship could attach her ! 
O swifter than the Arabian steed, 
No albatross could match her. 



A gun ! What's that ? A cry to halt ? 

A halt would mean a halter ! 
No, Madam Frigate, spare your shot : 

not you shall make us falter. 
Haul out, then, will ye, after us ! Tut ! 

Hear'st not thou our jeer ? 
Heed well your Convoy — one we want 

for The London, privateer. 

The shadow of the evening brought a 
curl of silver moon ; 

The frigate did not chase us long, in 
truth she dropped us soon. 

As idle to pursue o'er fields the shadow 
of a cloud. 

She sent a Parthian shot and then re- 
joined the leeward crowd. 

When well below the sea-line, but still 
holding them in sight. 

We piped to grog and entered on the 
duties of the night, 

'Twas morning watch, about one bell, 
The wind began to roar : 

' I fear this weather smells of hell 
To those who aren't ashore.. 

'Twill scatter sure the whole Convoy,' 
Said Rokeshill without glee, 

* I heartily wish the King's ships joy 
If one ship's left for me.' 


It blew a hurricane that day, and nothing 

could be done, 
But house the topmasts,' hand all sail, 

secure the guns and run. 
God knows how many leagues we sped 

in sober honest fear ; 
'Twas like all hands had foundered in 

The London^ privateer. 


What next befell I now must tell — 'ti 

curious, choice and odd : 
And proves that even privateers may 

put some trust in God. 
The clouds broke loose, the blue sky 

shone, as lakes do on the land ; 
The lumpish waters met in shocks, 

being under no command. 
The smell of weed was coarse like 

dressing fish in a caboose. 
The leaden swell looked muddy as 

though thickened from the ooze. 
When broad upon the larboard beam, 

about a mile in span, 
A gallant ship lay wallowing, a big 

West Indiaman. 
Her mizzen-mast was o'er the side. 

Gone were her long jibbooms ; 
The storm had stript her of all pride, 
Almost a wreck she looms. 


* She's of the Convoy — left behind ! ' 

Cries Captain Rokeshill ! ' Speak her !' 
' Ho, ship ahoy ! ' ' She's dumb and 

blind ! 
Quick, ere a frigate seek her ! ' 
We put our helm to starboard and the 

seamen went to quarters. 
All ready for a nimble run in case a 

frigate sought us ; 
When lo ! that half- wrecked Indiaman, 

as slowly we drew near, 
Let fly, by God ! a broadside at The 

London, privateer. 


The drench killed five and wounded 

seven — no very handsome blunder 
To drive us mad ! but stop a bit ! 

Now let our cannon thunder ? 
Ply, ply 'em fierce, the shot'll pierce 

whilst close beside we round to ! 
'Way, boarders ! Mizzen chains my 

chance ! we'll find out where she's 

bound to ! 
What ! Gone the men from every gun ? 

her lesson have we taught her ? 
We yield, sir ! ' bawls her Captain, 

* and for God's sake give us 

quarter !' 


She was from Kingston to our joy, 

The richest of the sailers 
Which formed the valuable Convoy 

Whose frigate fail'd to hail us. 
Her master was part-owner too, 

And now a broken man. 
His name was Captain Martin Drew 

His daughter was called Ann. 
A delicate bloom enriched her cheeks, 

her eyes with love-stars glowed, 
She'd cherry lips and nut-brown hair 

dressed daintily /i la mode ; 
She view'd our Captain with a smile ; 

we guessed the pretty dear 
Was like the ship a choice prize to The 
London^ privateer. 


Our Captain sweetly smiles on Ann, and 

says ' I'm yours for life : 
I'll give your father back his ship if yu 

will be my wife.' 
Whereat she drops a curtsey and with 

joy her fine eyes fill : 
And stretching forth her little hand she 

softly says, ' I will.' 
Now was not here a victory .'' and was 

not here a prize } 
What gold could buy her tender love } 

what jewels match her eyes } 


Then we belay'd what we'd begun ; 

And Captain Drew, shipmaster, 
For life made this young couple one 

By acting as ship's pastor. 
What said our crew who'd lost their 
When they regained their foc'sle ? 
* He'll find more ships with richer 
Our Captain still is Rokeshill.' 
So honour'd be the mariners who stand 

by those who head them ! 
Who'll fight for them, who'll starve for 
them, who'll die for them, and — 
wed them ! 
Such noble souls we have at sea as sure 

these rhymes make clear. 
Here's to you then, ye sailors of The 
London^ privateer ! 

The Deal Boatmen 

Old Bill he bawls out ' There's a ship 

on the Sands ! 
Launch the boat ! Look alive ! She'll 

be lost with all hands ! ' 
We fisted the gunnel, 'twas rescue we 

The shingle roar'd under the keel as it 

Flash ! sheets the white smother ; our 

fight must be won ! 
And hark ! through the wind shears 

the boom of a gun. 
Flatten in ! sit to wind'ard ! a ten 

minutes' stretch — 
Then head East by North, and we're 

certain to fetch. 
About ! Dip the sail ! She's a point 

on the lee ! 
Hurrah for the lives to be won from 

the sea ! 

Hand over that spy-glass — her fore 

and main shrouds 
Are black with her people secured 

there in crowds ! 


D'ye hear their faint cheer, mates ? 

there's forty if one ! 
We'll save the whole mob, lads ! 

again, hear the gun ! 
More help will be coming, and if 

I see just. 
There's Joe in our wake — but he 

won't be there fust ! 
Ease off, by the dark o' your nail — 

now she's free ! 
Oh livelies ! how lovely she leaps 

o'er the sea ! 
Ten women I'm thinkin', and children 

are there, 
I count forty-one ? By God's love, 

how they stare ! 

* Oh keep up your spirits, we've come 

for to save.' 
They hear me ! they cheer me, O 

stout hearts and brave ! 
First children, then women, the men 

in their turn. 
Up helm and so steer to round under 

her stern. 
We're deep as it is, mates ; let Joe 

take the rest ; 
The children are with us and they are 

the best. 


The women are praying and cry as 

they pray ; 
But what is their lingo, and what do 

they say ? 
No matter ! They're human, whate'er 

else they be, 
And nothing that's human should 

drown in the sea. 

At least that's our notion : as sailors 

we speak. 
Though them that we save be I-talian 

or Greek. 
The Roosian or Proosian or white 

men or black, 
May trust to the Briton who's spoke 

of as Jack. 

That Abraham 

(A Legend of Tynemouth, 1804.) 

In March in eighteen hundred years 

and four, 
A shallop shoved from off a South Sea 

whaler ; 
And after rowing, put a man ashore, 
An old, damp, weedy man, clothed as 

a sailor. 
The coast was Tynemouth, graced by 

Papish ruins ; 
Beside that sea-boro' runs the river 

Tyne ; 
And to the best of Tynemouth's rather 

few inns. 
Our ancient mariner repaired to dine. 
He looked so oddly in his cap of fur. 
His shaggy breeches and his shaggier 

His red-veined eyes and fore-tooth 

His great ears sagged with hoops, his 

tinctured stare. 


That Mr Porter, landlord of the inn, 
Said * Prythec, your name ? ' With 

sand-pale under-lip 
He dribbled, 'Sir, I was the Guest of Sin, 
I'm noiD that Abraham who saw the 


' What wicked ship was she ? ' the land- 
lord said, 

' Was she of Shields or Newcassel, 
this Sinner ? ' 

* Neither 1 No living ship can be more 

Fm hungry. Master : let me have some 

A broad beef-steak, with onions, bread 
and beer, 

Was served ; he ate the meat, he 
drained the can, 

Whilst Mr Porter, landlord, gazed in 

Not for his reckoning, but of the Man. 

The stranger's jaws worked like a 
starved cow chewing. 

From time to time he'd lift a leathern 
purse : 

And whilst he munched he'd stead- 
fastly keep viewing 

What lay within and swallow down 
a curse. 


' Oh what a vice is gold ! ' he'd some- 
times groan, 

* It makes men devils once it gets a 

Time was I had a soul I called my own ; 
Now I'm that Abraham who saw the 


Then draws he from his purse a piece 

of gold, 
And says ' There's more in this than 

you might reckon ; 
It's worth seven silver rix-dollars all 

And once belonged to Captain Vander- 

' O' the Flying Dutchman ? ' cried out Mr 


* Now of what other ? ' sneered that old 

Jack Muck. 
*A guinea call that piece and keep 

a quarter. 
Get me tobacco and a pipe to suck.' 
Trembling he sank into an easy chair. 
And shed tobacco-smoke with wrinkled 

relish ; 
His clothes, his skin, his mouth, his 

blood-red stare, 
Made Mr Porter think him something 



First at the Man, then at the gold 

he'd look, — 
That Man now blew a cloud, now 

took a sip, 
And muttered, as though reading from 

a book, 
' 1 am that Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

' But why that Abraham ? ' mine host 

insisted : 
' Dwell not you on that Abraham too 

much, man ! ' 
The other scowled : * What Abraham 

e'er existed 
But me, who's lived aboard the Flying 

Dutchman ? 
Pray sit ye down, O patron of Three 

Who dance the day round on your 

painted sign ; 
Whistle the drawer, your cellar shall 

not fail us. 
Clap nose in froth, the reckoning isimine. 
I am a-weary, and my old heart aches 
With burden of long years : but what 

of One 
Who with the gale's wings flies, and 

The ooze of seas whose tongues lick 

up the sun ? ' 


' What is your age ? ' quoth Mr 

Porter, blandly ; 
' My age ? ' says he, with dribbling 

' 'Tis eight score years and seven, 

and ' (adds he grandly) 
' I am that Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

The landlord dropped his pipe : ^ Eight 

score and seven ! ' 
He faintly cried : ' What yarn is this 

you tell ? ' 
' No yarn,' says Abraham, ' 'tis true 

as heaven ; 
As true as that my soul is bound to 

But what of years ? It is not they 

that make us ; 
It is the body's growth. Time's 

the clock's tongue. 
And if decay's forbidden to o'ertake us, 
Then that which cannot die must 

aye be young. 
Refill your pipe and charge afresh 

your mug, 
I cant decay ! and when my tale is said 
You'll own no stranger yarn was 

ever dug 
From out the mud which forms old 

ocean s 



He mused awhile, his sunk eyes 

redly glare, 
And now he takes a thought and 

now a sip, 
And mutters, whilst his fingers seek 

his hair, 
* I am that Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

* In sixteen thirty - seven I came to 

In Poplar, and when ten was put to 

A ruddy, saucy fellow, bold and tight, 
When I was young, and all the girls 

loved me. 
You would not think so, sir, to see 

me here ; 
What woman would my face and 

figure woo } 
Yet old men oft by girls are feignt?d 

And what is strange, old men believe 

it, too. 
At nineteen years of age I went as 

Aboard a tall South Seaman for the 

Cape ; 
A sailor should be arm'd for every fate ; 
To gorge and end him ports and 

oceans gape. 


And arm'd I was, but who could 

have foretold 
The awful sequel to that South Sea trip ? 
For I could say when twenty-one 

years old, 
' I am that Abraham who saw the 


* We touched at Mossel Bay for 

wood and water ; 
When loaded, for the Ship our course 

we bent ; 
A sudden rip-surge struck us on 

the quarter, 
Whelm'd us in foam and down the 

long-boat went. 
All sank save one who Abraham is 

He gain'd the shore upon a piece 

of tree. 
Crawled a few fathoms, finding he 

was lamed. 
And lay as though just cast up by the sea. 
When life returned the sparkling 

night was come ; 
He heard the forest-beasts, the breakers' 

roar ; 
The sand stretched ghastly and the 

cliffs stood dumb ; 
Helpless alone, he lay upon that shore.' 


The weedy mariner broke off" and 

And seized his chair's arms with 

convulsive grip, 
And with a red stare said, in voice that 

' I am that Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

' One forenoon 'neath the tree to which 

I'd crept, 
I was awakened by a sound of speech ; 
Five men stood near ! I thought that 

I still slept ; 
Two lounged beside a boat hauled on 

the beach. 
What men were they .'' I scantied with 

fearful eye 
Shapes of the dead in living sailors' 

clothes ; 
Faces of men who, fated not to die. 
Yet still were dead without the dead's 

They looked swashbucklers in jackboot 

and brace. 
And rump-round breeches and hard- 
weather hat ; 
But pale as storm-dark foam was every 

And no man seemed to see what he 

looked at. 


It was not blindness, but the gaze that 

Beyond the object that it seemed to 

skip : 

* Oh ! ' cried the old Salt, ' It had 

come at last ! 
I was that Abraham who saw the ship. 

* Yes sir, by every saint aloft ! she lay 
Within a league, a palHd, poison 'd 

thing : 
Soft-rocking on the swell that brimmed 

the Bay 
With flash of wet side and sails 

Through several ports small cannon 

eyed the water ; 
Her tall poop-lanthorn darts a misty 

sheen ; 
Some tarnished gilt-scroll decorates each 

quarter ; 
Upon her bulge the weed she lifts is 

I felt the terror sweat-cold in my brains. 
Gazed at the sailors near me — Oh sir ! 

such men ! 
Then said, " What's yonder ship with 

three dogvanes ? " 
One answer'd : " She iss calt ter Flying 



They filled the boat and blew away with 

And nimbly did we through the water 

They took with them the Hero of this 

That man called Abraham who saw the 


' Her sides are pock-marked where the 

sea-worms lurk. 
She makes no foam when down her 

forefoot sinks. 
Silent aloft some seamen hang in work. 
The paint is bubbled where it lies and 

Some figures move upon her foc'sle- 

And some are patching sail-cloth in the 

'Twas Death in Life, the accursed Life 

that's dead, 
Dead with blind vision, brain-still, 

A portly person stood upon the poop ; 
(Three poops she hath, the topmost is 

called royal ;) 
In either ear he wore a golden hoop. 
His white beard hid his breast by coil 

on coil. 


His long lean nose rear'd out, his eyes 

were small, 
His hair hung o'er his ears in ends of 

whip ; 
He said in thrilling tones funereal, 
" Thou art the Abraham who saw the 

Ship ! " 

*At me he stared with bush-browed 

steadfast eyes, 
Dim-silvered by that death which is not 

rest ; 
(His face, arched nose and rugged skin 

of frieze 
Was like an eagle peering from his nest). 
Then asks he : " What are you ? " and 

I did say. 
" And who is King of Britain .'' who of 

Spain } " 
And then he says : " What is the year 

and day .? " 
And when 1 told him he roars, "Try 

again ! 
Sulphur consume you ! " Vanderdecken 

" From Java sailed I sixteen twenty one : 
So that for thirty-seven years have I 

To fetch old Amsterdam by moon and 

sun ! 


I'll have you keel-haul'd If again you lie. 
We Dutchmen love all Britons so to 

dip ; 
Lie if you durst ! and look me in the eye, 
You man called Abraham who saw the 

Ship !'" 

' Pray Abraham,' says Mr Porter, host, 
' What was the year when you the ship 

beheld ? ' 
'The year was sixteen fifty seven at 

most ' 

'// century and a half!' the landlord 

' What art thou, wretch .'' a mortal or 

a demon } ' 
Shrieked out mine host with terror in 

his cry ; 
'I'm one of Captain Vanderdecken's 

Who, having served aboard him cannot 

I'm damned for ever and must live for 

ever ; 
That is the fate on which all sailors 

Who speak or board that Death Ship 

whose endeavour 
Is the Lord's conquest by fierce 



Nor old nor young am I ; for dead 

men living 
No pendulum wags the cent'ries to let 

slip : 
God's eye above, relentless, unforgiving, 
Dwells on that Abraham who saw the 


' Ah me ! ' he moaned ; the landlord 

thought he wept. 
Not his were tears, but that which 

dries up tears. 
* Within the Dutchmen's curse I've 

waking slept, 
Alive with vulgar wants and dead in 

O pitiless heart ! that gapeth at my grief. 
Yet shuddereth with the shocks of 

craven strife, 
Fearing a man by death denied relief ! 
By life the hopes and joys which make 

up life ! 
Shame on ye ! think of that which 

I have seen, 
The madden'd ship, the foaming cloud- 
high surge : 
The lightning o'er the boltsprit-end, 

the sheen 
Of hell's glares to the blackmost ocean's 

verge ; 


And Vanderdecken kneeling with 

clenched hand, 
And hideous flout of God upon his lip, — 
These terrors have / seen, whilst you re 

By that poor Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

He rose and fumbling, fits his cap of fur, 
Looks on the clock as one who cannot 

tell it, 
Gazed at the reckoning-slate and said, 

' Good sir. 
What is the score ? I have no art to 

spell it.' 
' No more — you've paid — we're quits,' 

said Mr Porter, 
Thankful to heaven the old Fiend should 

be leavincj. 
' Your charge was in this gold rix-dollar 

The old man sighed : his face was long 

with grieving. 
* Ah, who can tell how spacious is this 

Save he who hath no friend in life or 

death : 
Who knows no human sorrow, faith or 

Who breathes with lungs uncharged by 

mortal breath ? 


/ cannot die — the globe spreads wide 

He muttered to himself, ' What's my 

next trip ? 
I ^cannot die and gain the Silent Shore. 
I'm ever Abraham who saw the Ship.' 

In Falmouth Harbour 

Dost hear the frost a-slnging at the 

hearkening cabin-windows ! 
A pallid underchanting like the phantom 

moan of ghosts ? 
'Tis not the music murmur'd when the 

night soft-scented wind blows, 
But wailings of the summer in death's 

visionary hosts. 
The flowers they are crying o'er the 

hours which were dying 
When winter slew their colour, and 

their perfume, and their light : 
The green leaf in the dark soil, and the 

red leaf, both are sighing. 
And countless waft of butterflies whose 

shapes are sunk in night. 


Dost hear the airy voices of the 
thousand starred Presence, 

Thin-hymning lamentation in the ice- 
black throat o' th' year ? 


Sweet souls of rose and violet, of 
brightness and of essence 

Commingling in a song of frost to 
woo the sailor's ear ! 

To woo and win the memory of rose- 
leaves which have faded, 

The love-lamp of the glow-worm, and 
the robed tree's lordly height ; 

The tenderness of buttercups on green 
lawns softly shaded, 

The sunbeam on the river and the 
Visions lost in night. 

The Pilgrims 

Tke Ma^oiver, 1 620-1 


The Lord our God is Monarch of the 

mighty Universe ; 
The tyrants of men's conscience doth 

He visit with His curse. 
His law unto His children's heart is, 

^ Be My worship thine.' 
The despot of the soul cries, ' Nay ! 

the Lord God's worship's mine.' 
We wish'd to pray to God at home ; 

the tyrants still cried, ' Stand ! 
Ye shall not worship as ye will, nor 

shall ye leave the land.' 

By stratagem (full futile oft) the 

narrow seas we crossed : 
We gain'd the Lord in our own way, 

but all things else we lost. 
A broken, sighing company of men 

and wives we were ; 
But God who loves the upright heart 

took on Him all our care. 


Come, sing to God the Merciful, 
Whose eye is on men's sorrow ! 

If dark and dreary be to-day, He 
clothes with light the morrow ! 


From Amsterdam to Leyden town we 

march 'd in penury ; 
Our dream was of Virginia, beyond the 

Atlantic sea. 
Until at last by sturdy toil bless'd by 

our Lord's sweet power. 
We purchased two brave little ships, 

the Speedwell and Mayflower. 
In these we met adventures which did 

breed us grief in plenty ; 
And then from old Southampton sail'd 

in August, sixteen twenty. 


We headed tor Virginia, and in the 

Mayflower went 
One hundred and two passengers all in 

one small ship pent. 
Besides the Pilgrims were the crew 

and stores and ordnance weighty. 
The ship but measured over-all one 

hundred tons and eighty. 


Among us were good Master Sowle, and 

Bradford and Myles Standish, 
And Brewster, Winslow, Fuller, Priest 

and names which fame shall brandish. 
Our Pilot was call'd Master Clark, and 

Coppin was our gunner, 
And let me Mary Chilton mind, and 

the stout heart that won her. 


When we had sail'd a hundred leagues 
from where old England ends. 

There falls a holy afternoon upon the 
Pilo'rim friends. 


The sun hangs red and glorious above 

the ocean line, 
God's beauty and God's majesty around 

about us shine. 
'Twas Master Brewster sang a hymn 

in which we all took part. 
The solemn waters timed our praise 

with long throbs of their heart. 
How beautiful it is to hear upon the 

placid sea 
A congregation's sweet-breasts sing in 

sacred harmony ! 
The white sails catch the swelling notes 

as though they, too, adored ; 
The music echoes in their caves and 

floats unto the Lord. 



Scarce had the cadence of our psahn 

ceased in our topmost sail, 
When, through the crimson of the eve, 

we heard the speedwell hail. 
* Ho, Master Jones, my helm must 

shift a sudden port to seek.' 
'What's wrong with Master Reynold's 

ship } ' ' The SpeedwelFs sprung 

a leak ! ' 
She carried eighteen passengers — all 

Pilgrims, as were we ; 
We could not leave our well-beloved 

to founder in the sea. 
'We'll shift our helm for Plymouth 

town,' our Captain Jones bawled 

'We're mariners; I'll stand by you; 

so put the ships about.' 
We grieved, some wept ; it was the 

Lord who willed our cup should 

And whilst the sad moon slowly rose 

we sang another hymn. 
The night-beam silver'd every face, the 

ships stemmed pale as foam, 
And with the night-wind filled with 

psalms, we steered again for 




And now it was God's heavenly will 

His mercy should be known, 
For after He had led us back He bade 

us forth alone. 
The Speedwell gave her mission up, and 

Reynolds — say, what meant he ? 
The Mayflower put to sea again, Sep- 
tember, sixteen twenty. 
So all alone upon the deep that girdles 

us like Time, 
That onward goes as we go on, in 

solitude sublime. 
In darkness oft, in sunshine oft, in 

hollows of the surge. 
Or tranced when the evening star 

bejewels ocean's verge ; 
We sleep, we weep, our prayer is for the 

liberty we missed. 
For lands where freedom dwells, and 

where men worship as they list. 


'Twas pleasant when the dew tell sweet 

as rain upon the lip. 
To view the picture of the sea made by 

out little ship. 


The water broke in clouds of gold 

beneath her rolling sides, 
Her canvas slapped the star-crowned 

masts, astern the sea-fire slides. 
The children sporting on the deck 

make music with their laughter ; 
The Elders talk in solemn group about 

the near Hereafter ; 
The women ply their knitting-pins and 

whisper one another 
Of ruined homes and ruined lives, of 

father, mother, brother. 
And now a hymn may swell to heaven, 

and now the sailors coarsely 
Will bellow back the captain's shout 

and tune their labour hoarsely. 


So dies the day, so speeds the wake, 

and over all is God ; 
Virginia's sweets are not for us, we're 

steering for Cape Cod. 
But wheresoe'er our haven is, yea, 

even were it Greenland, 
Go where we may we there are free : 

we never were in England ! 
Then glory to our God on high, to 

Him all praise be given ; 
We lost in Britain's thraldom — hell ! 

to find in freedom — heaven ! 

The Sailing Ship 

(A Duet by two aged seamen of Belvedere) 

Jack. — Ah, Tom, the good old days 

are fled, 
The sailing ship has pass'd ; 
Why is she numbered with the 

dead ? 

Tom. — She was too good to last. 


Jack. — Why, right you are ! and what 
they call 
A sailing ship these days 
Is iron and two sides o' wall — 

Tom. — A tank as never pays. 


Jack. — W^ith double yards and no 
And anchors stowed — as how ? 


Tom. — Why, in the 'awse-pipes where 
there's room 
In the steel wedge-shaped bow. 


Jack. — With monkey masts and narrow 

And waterways awash, 
She's like a lean and tattered 

slut, — 

Tom. — Half- starved on longshore 

Jack. — Her clews are fathoms out of 
Of every slim yard-arm : 
To wind'ard she can never sail — 

Tom. — I'd rather boss a farm. 


Jack. — The Dago and the Chaney man. 
The Dutchman and Hindoo, 
The Proosian and Hi-tal-ian — 

Tom. — Do form her measly crew. 



Jack. — They flics our red flag on 

such craft, 
And honours thus the rabble ; 
No Angleesh spoken fore or 


Tom. — Nowt speech but gabble-babble. 


Jack. — The windlass-ends are dead 
and gone, 

On which we used to lean ; 

They've done away with holy- 
stone — 

Tom. — 'Cos what's there left to clean ? 


Jack. — 'Tis spit and polish as you say, 
All's brass-work and all's paint. 
Is there a single seam to pay .'' 

Tom. — Well, Jack, maybe there ain't. 


Jack. — Ay, that's so ; where's the 

The lower stunsail boom ? 
But fo'scle soup and pork and 

beef — 

* The first reef in a four-reef single topsail was 
$0 named. 


Tom. — Will stay till crack o' doom. 


Jack. — The weevil's still the ancient 

worm ; 
The duff came in the Ark ; 
The cook still makes the 

stomach squirm — 

XoM. — Though you was born a shark. 


Jack. — Yes, pay and food goes allers on, 
It's well we're both ashore ! 
It's * Rise up, Jack, and sit 
down, John ! ' 

Tom. — Then — now — and hevermore ! 


Jack. — I loves to recollect them days 
When the bows were full and 

stout ; 
When seldom would a ship 

miss stays 
In putting her about. 
* Raise tacks and sheets,' then 

' mainsail haul ! ' 
Then round the foreyards swing ; 
The bo'sun pipes his silver call — 


Tom. — The crew in English sing. 


Jack. — With forty men betwixt the rails, 
Three taws'ls reePd together ; 
And sights of rum that never 
fails — 

Tom. — To please in every weather. 


Jack. — Them days are gone and with 

them's sunk 
The ro-mance of the sea. 
How can a sailor-man get drunk 
On cocoa and ship's tea ? 
The owners say it's good for 

To be denied their tot. 
What say ye, Tom .'' how goes 

it then ! 

Tom. — What says I ? Tommy rot .'' 



Both. — Oh vanish'dare our ocean joys, 

When young we was and haler ! 

When we was hearty lively 

A sailor was a sailor. 

It's steamboats now, and sail- 
ing ships, 

The likes of which we've sung ; 

'Twas other hearts and other 

When you and me was young. 

Captain Teach (Blackbeard) 

Let's sing a song of Pyrates ; did you 

ever hear of Teach : 
His cable-strands of plunder, murder, 

arson, rape, would reach 
From old Mahomet's Bridge of Death, 

where dead men's ghosts tall over, 
Unto the Gates where sits Queen Sin, 

the Dam of Death the Rover. 
Let's sing a song of Pyrates, lads, and 

be that song of Teach, 
The terror of the ocean and the horror 

of the beach ; 
The Hero of the Bloody Flag, the plank 

and pike and pistol. 
Who came from where most Pyrates 

come, I mean the Port of Bristol. 
Snickersnee, boys, snickersnee. 
Sing this roundabout with me. 
Masthead the black no-quarter flag with 

yellow skull and bones. 
Queen Sin bends on the bunting 
When Death her son goes hunting. 
The course the Pyrate always steers 

is straight for Davy Jones. 


The first ship Teach commanded was a 

tall stout Guineaman ; 
He seized her with her freight of cocoa, 

flour and cinnamon, 
Then mounting her with forty guns 

for Blood and Booty steer'd 
To make his flag as hideous as his long, 

coarse coal-black beard. 
A horror was that plaited furze of 

devil-tinctured hair, 
Affrighting as a comet streaming fan- 
tailed through the air. 
It stretched from just below his eyes 

unto his belt that bristled 
With shocking daggers and small-arms 

in whose throats bullets whistled. 
Like a Ramalies wig 'twas kinked in 

curls with ribbons very gay. 
No fearfuller sight Vv^as ever seen in 

North America. 
In holsters he slung pistols which were 

never less than nine : 
Live matches stuck he in his hair to 

make his red eyes shine. 
Of such a wretch pray reckon his 

biographers wrote well 
When Teach they swore thus lighted, 

looked a ' Fury straight from hell.' 



He fought The Scarboro' man-of-war and 

made her run away ; 
In every ship he comes across this 

Pyrate finds a prey. 
He swept the streets of Charles-Town 

with wild mobs of privateers 
And seized the stores and fired the 

homes and lamed the place for years. 
Then his own crews he turns upon and 

robs them of their treasure 
Of which the sacking and the torch had 

yielded them good measure. 
Some fifty he maroons and then (so 

sharp-set is he tang'd) 
He drowns full fifty by a trick ; the 

others he gets hang'd. 
No Pyrate ever loved a joke as he ot 

whom 1 sing ; 
The nearer 'twas to murder why, the 

funnier was the thing. 
He'd wrench two pistols from his belt 

and fire 'em under table ; 
His pleasure you could measure by the 

number he'd disable. 
He'd call his crew into the hold and 

cork 'em under hatch, 
And (being of the number) to a stench- 
pot put a niat':!i : 


* Now, lads, as we're all bound to hell, 

let's see who'll stand it longest.' 
And, Lord ! how proud that demon was 

when'er he proved the strongest ! 
There's very much in this bad world 

to make us Christians irate ; 
But what is there we may compare to 

Teach the bearded Pyrate ? 


The hour of retribution comes to every 

murderous rover. 
The pistol, pike or halter ends the story 

and it's over. 
What is the law of destiny } or is law 

ruled by fate ^ 
Who waits an answer unto this must be 

content to wait. 
Fire, murder, plunder, demon-orgie, 

rose to such a height. 
If they don't end then Carolina perishes 

out o' sight. 
To grace the foreshore with the Pyrates 

ironed, pitched and dangling. 
To court to them those bald-birds which 

are Pyrates too in mangling. 
Was now Virginia's policy ; the 

Governor ('tis said) 
Offered in full an hundred pounds for 

Blackbeard Teach's head. 


For heads of other captains forty pounds 

apiece was given, 
A bo'sun's was worth fifteen and a 

common sailor's seven. 

In fair Virginia's River James were 

anchored for a time 
Two well-manned British Battleships 

known as the Pearl and Lime. 
The first-Lieutenant of the Pearl was 

Mr Edward Manyard,* 
Who never sighted Pyrate but away the 

Rover ran hard. 
The Governor of Virginia to Lieutenant 

Manyard said, 
* Please fill two sloops with men and 

bring me BlackbeardTeach'shead .''' 
They had no great guns ; their small 

arms were sword and pike and 

pistol ; 
With these the sloops set sail to fetch 

the head of Teach of Bristol. 
They caught him in an estuary and 

chased him on the mud ; 
His people fought like demons : all 

was thunder, yells and blood. 

* By some this name is spelt Ma)nard 


A negro stood with live-match in the 

Pyrate's magazine, 
Prepared to blow all hands aloft should 

Manyard chance to win. 


The Pyrate's broadside swept the sloops 
and whilst the cannon roar'd 

* Down underdeck ! ' shouts Manyard : 

* And I'll call ye when they board ! ' 
' We've sent the rogues to sulphur ! ' 
bellows Teach ; ' now follow ! 
follow ! ' 

* On deck my hearts ! ' cried Manyard, 

and his men leap to his holloa ! 
Then lunge and flash ! then smite and 

smash ! 'tis figures fallen or reeling : 
The blood runs with them as they run, 

you see the small sloop heeling. 
But down, at last, with gaping wounds 

that Blackbeard Teach falls dead. 
And Manyard, spitting on his sword, 

cuts off the Pyrate's head. 
The boltsprit-end doth hold it fast to 

hang there and abide ; 
'Twas like an old crow's mangled nest, 

a dead man's face inside. 
Snickersnee, boys, snickersnee. 
Sing this roundabout with me ; 


Masthead the black no-quarter flag with 

yellow skull and bones. 
Queen Sin bends on the bunting 
When Death her son goes hunting ; 
The course the Pyrate always steers is 

straight for Davy Jones. 


Famous Novels of the Sea 
By the same Author 

Neiv Edition^ hound in cloth^ Half-a-cro^fn each. 
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